the moon is making me restless

somewhere in my mind
i'm pacing the floor of a cage

trapped in a finite space
with too much energy
too many thoughts
and not enough dreams

or maybe there are plenty of dreams,
too many deferred.

we never answered langston's question.
not really.
if one observes the distress of black america
{particularly on mlk's boulevards}
one could come pretty close.

but i digress.



you're the devil.

i know it.

and don't care.

i'm not some innocent damsel
with no heat of her own.

bring your fire dance;
i'll keep time.


the island {part 3}

{part 1}
{part 2}

A breeze danced across the garden, bending the tall grasses and tickling the hibiscus bushes. The shores of a teal sea sparkled on the horizon.

The Lady fell into one of her hammocks near the garden wall. The wall itself was covered in honeysuckle vines, the hammock strung between two palm trees. She sunk into the thick, silk sling, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply. Golden eyeshadow flecked with emerald green glitter danced off her mahogany eyelids. The breath sent one side of her kimono sliding over her collarbone, exposing a bit of her shoulder to the sun.

Concentrate on the vision, she chided herself. There'll be time later to play with the sun. She allowed herself a smile to thank the sunbeam for its warmth, breathed again. Focused.


the interview {a monologue}

{TRIGGER WARNING - the piece that follows contains descriptions of molestation/rape/incest and harsh language.}



{background/between stanza soundtrack}

for b. & witchy too much womyn errywhere 

pretty baby
wit yo pretty words
an' ugly ways

fulla game
an' fire
gettin whatever u want
whereever u go

til u got
to my door
an' i snatched
the crow
outta that cock
wit'out even tryin...

u told on yaself
real quick.

silly me
thinkin there was
somethin behind
that smoke u breathed
an' those mirrors
u call eyes.

pretty baby
wit yo pretty words
an' ugly ways...

hope u learned
ur lesson.

my favorite painting


Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). The Broken Column, 1944.
Oil on canvas. 15 11/16 x 12 in. (40 x 30.5 cm).
Collection Museo Dolores Olmedo PatiƱo, Mexico City.

good morning

easing out of dreams,
i am bathed in warm honey
that pools at the base of my spine,
rinsed in river water,
and loved.



filled with wanting


{the first of these}

she entered
in gold-covered brown skin;
african face under a halo of hair.

i was already in bed
i'm not sure which...

she made no sound;
her smile awakened me...
sweet. full.
adorned with glossy blackberries.

suddenly, she's leaning over me.
i don't think i ever spoke;
her presence paralyzes.

slowly, she kisses me,
now i'm afraid--
even as i return the gesture
through a haze of shock.

what do i do with this woman?

she lingers, then pulls back
there must be fear in my eyes
'cause there's more warmth in her smile.

she tells me--without speaking--that she will teach me...

i gulp air
and wait.
she hovers over me
then bends down for another kiss...

my arms reach for her waist
i relax my thighs to make room.
she is so
beautiful. warm.
more than.
and she loves me...that i know

the kiss deepens
we move
in a cacophony of light

i awake
nearly in love myself.

it was months before i understood
this was no mere dream
but a visitation.

She'd infused me
with a piece of my/Herself;
embedded Her love
in my humble human soul...


the dialogue

an exercise in self preservation.

sometimes we forget how strong we truly are...

the boys downstairs

{originally posted march, 2007}

aside from my alarm clock
the first thing I hear in the morning
are the cries of a 3 yr old child

after repeatedly hitting the snooze button
there’s the echo of
mommy yelling and
baby trying to figure out why she’s so mad

a few months ago it would be
mommy and daddy fighting that greeted me
7am or earlier
fussing about lies and all other manner of what not
i suppose the experiment in playing house failed
since daddy’s not there anymore

i don’t know what that boy did
pretty as he is
i remember coming out of the house the same time as them
and was greeted with a bright, cheerful “hi!”
then, later, the mischievous face
staring out of the front door calling
(I’m guessing she was in the basement doing laundry)
I playfully put a finger to my lips
and he grinned that pretty grin
at our quick game of peek-a-boo
and kept calling

i don’t pretend to know
what motherhood is like
but i understand a bit
about the making of happy children

i also know how the other little boy
who used to live in the same apartment
became my godson’s bully

…no one spoke to him
unless they were yelling
my gentle “hey” caught him as a deer in headlights
then he shot finger guns at me
(he was always shooting finger guns
or play ones
expecting you to fall down dead)

i remember hearing the tantrums he’d throw
after daddy dropped him off
on a weekend or
after a weeknight visit
remember thinking
that anger’s gonna get him in
big trouble



urban haiku

{originally posted april, 2006}

she got them across
the busy street in one piece.
brown boys safe for now.


questions: a drumchant

who listens
when brown girls cry?

who loves them
when they're lonely?

who offers sweet smiles
on days they don't feel pretty?

who understands
brown girl pain--
the special moments
the breakdowns
before the breakthroughs?

who walks the road
to their recovery
with them?
do we deserve
emotional pit crews
trained in instant repair?

who knows
what's wrong
before we reveal the frown?

who listens...
who loves...
who offers...
who understands...
who walks...
who knows...



pushing out words and tears...
as they leave, chills settle over my shoulders.


the fight

dreamt of deep tombs filled with wary bones...
a botanica/jewelry store built on top.

as my "mother" and i were leaving,
a ham-fisted man caught us in the hallway.
we tried to keep walking.
the man's wife tried to keep him walking.

he threatened anyway.
came for mother first.

somehow, in a way i didn't see, she cut him.
slashed right across his throat, but he dripped instead of gushing.
tasted his blood, fed it back to him...

i was shocked.
then it occurred to me:
she wanted to know how insane he had to be to step to her.
the blood told her.
she said,
"if you would harm someone, harm yourself first. drink your own blood."

that's when he, weakened, lifted his fat hand to slap her.
i waited.
he did.
i got my hand around his bloodied neck
and choked him til his eyes bulged,
saying, "don't you ever lay a hand on my mother..."

"draw me out of the net they have spread for me, for you are my refuge; to your hands i commit my spirit, by you have i been redeemed." ~psalm 31:4-5


omo oshun

sometimes i forget
that love will always bring me back to center...
fill the holes
mend what's broken
seal the cracks.

sweet scents.
shea butter rubdowns singing silent love notes to my body.
hot tea after a hot bath.
tracing the lines of my tattoos...remembering their intent.

love surrounds, protects, insulates me.
love is my guide, shield, weapon and light.

love guides my waters home
and water has no enemy.

ore yeye o


for kings, soldiers, babas, brothas and lions

dedicated to the fall of tkon

i have become
everything you've asked of me:

my hair is coiled
into beautiful roots...
i wear bright colors
long skirts
the copper bangles you like.

feed the babies vegetables and fruits
i grow with my own hands
and watch us all glow.

but you complain
if i cry;
deny my reason
if i reveal my heart.
i know the stories of our african kings just as you do
{i overlook your dismissal of the queens,
but whisper their stories to our daughter...}

no one cries for my deferred dreams
not even me...
maybe i need to release those backed up tears
when i hear a beautiful poem
or song
or when you hold me
...if you hold me.

i cannot help who i am.

is there a reason your heart
must remain locked away?

i love your mind,
but i also know you have a soul.
i glimpsed it when our daughter was born,
when our son took his first steps.

i'd like to get to know it.
but it never emerges for me.

because of the struggle.
because the people's pain trumps our own.
because i can take it.
because you're "over it."

i have become
everything you've asked of me.

but you never asked me
to be

a moment

breathing love
into the sad spaces
and sore places...