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little things

you said you’d be there for me next time
and next time is right now and you boarded that flight anyway
you said you would call me when you got off the plane
not like i was sitting by the phone or anything
and you said we’d talk about it before hand
but by the time you got back you’d already had sex with her twice

so don’t tell me that you’re going to clean the dishes after i cook if you don’t mean the pot that i scorched making the rice & peas
and then expect me to get up in the morning & make you grits with no clean pots
and don’t ask me what the fuck i’m yelling about like you don’t know

because every time i wear that slinky dress out, we’re not spending enough time together
and whenever that girl calls, you’re in the mood to cuddle
and i only feel distant on the days i’m not coming straight home after work

and when i cry alone in our bedroom nothing’s wrong
and when nothing’s wrong you sleep in your studio

and i haven’t touched you in weeks
since you weren’t in the mood anyway

and i want you out of my face
but you disappear for days

so let’s have a shouting match about who gets the last of the cereal

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if you loved me i would probably end up killing myself on accident

if you loved me i would run headfirst into a brick wall with you
because when we link arms i believe in us so much that i don’t believe in the real world
and that wall is a cartoon wall in a movie set that will just tip over

…from the force of our love

if you loved me i would dance in traffic with you
because when your hand encircles my waist everywhere is just a field of daisies
and those honking car horns are merely a symphony playing a song

..to honor our love

if you loved me i would dive off a cliff with you
because when you take my hand firmly into yours my spirit is so light that i could fly
and we are merely diving into clouds which will create a soft fluffy cushion to break our fall

..into love

if you loved me i would spin in circles until i threw up with you
because when you kiss me the room starts spinning and i become light-headed
and we are simply spinning in the opposite direction to create an equilibrium so the room will be still enough

..for us to make love

if you loved me i would swallow live snakes whole
because when you touch me the army of butterflies fluttering on my insides makes me levitate
and i need the snakes to eat them so they don’t carry me away from you

..my love

if you loved me i would sit through a hurricane with you
because when we do it the whole world tumbles around in the sheets with us
and “a hurricane” is just what people who don’t know what’s going on call us

..making love

 

but you don’t love me
so i guess i’m safe

me for sale

take my hair
call it permed
call it textured
call it all natural fibers
make a perfect halo of loose curls on a high yellow model
take the kink out of every strand my gramma ever slid a hot comb over
make one product that will straighten it and another that will curl it back the right way
box it in cardboard and put it on the shelf
sell it back to me

take my mouth
call it pouty
call it collagen
call it exotic
make a humbly-sized lip coated in volumizing optical illusions
take out that evolutionary throwback quality that justified our subjugation
make an incision to bring them down to size and an injection to plump them back up
suck it into a tube and lay it under glass
sell it back to me

take my sound
call it a revival
call it rock
call it world music
make a commotion over the originality of blue-eyed soul idols redoing decades old black anthems
take the struggle out of all the melodies we ever moaned our passions over
make the lyrics about middle-class white today-isms that we can all relate to
record it on wax and slide it in a sleeve
sell it back to me

take my religion
call it spirituality
call it kwanzaa
call it paying homage
make a non-denominational altar in honor of all your favorite beliefs
take away my ancestors and erase the context of every deity we ever invoked and every shrine we ever knelt before
make the hallowed into fashion accessories and the rites into irrelevant pastimes
record it on parchment paper and bind it in leather
sell it back to me

take my skin
call it spray tanned
call it ethnic print
call it fake baked
make a complexion just dark enough that you don’t need no melanin to achieve it
take out that rough midnight that we lost our freedom over
make a cream that will bleach off that nasty history and a machine that will bake it back on clean
bottle it in a spray can and store it at room temperature
sell it back to me

sell the knock off
make it sparklier than me
have it be so good that the original just looks outdated
call me traditional
call me unprofessional
call me oppressed by my own culture
buy the rights to my existence
make it palatable for them
have the look so down that they think you invented it
you be creative
you be worldly
you be fashionable
in my brown skin

us.

us.

 

me.you

you.me

me.intriguing with rambling analogies to communicate the things that lie outside the boxes in which we often find ourselves confined while

you.using concise sureness so eloquently put, made the same thing sound like verse,
engaging

me.so we met and drank of each others concepts and philosophies and ate of salad because

you.where a vegetarian and, now inebriated off of those libations, with no particular intentions invited

me.better looking standing here than i ever did seem in those photos, to come see
you.better looking outside of that shirt than you ever did seem in it, laid down next to

me.skin soft like the parts of me tucked away under the bravado that you saw through else would i be here with

you.for whom comfortable was a word forgotten until you asked to drape your arm across my waist meaninglessly and yet so relevant to

me.melting into that gently heaving chest like the cocoa butter you smelled of, i belonged here and didn’t realize it until

you.impressed at how easy this piece fit into your puzzle, drew attention to how much i drew you to me and how much i drew you to attention and who would have guessed that

we.tumbled through the sheets like an mudslide and nobody can do anything but get out of the way watch their house fall down under the pressure of

us.equally as passionate about our people, our country and our be bop, and

we.don’t stop just like hip hop and neither do our arguments until things get dizzy, miles and brubeck who i also put you onto and you wrote love poems about

us.set to cool jazz for when we chilled and hid the ones from when it got heated from

me.falling uncontrollably like precipitation into love with

you.yet still clearly a storm but there were dry spells because you loved me and listened to

me.and i heard you too until the thunder came and then it seemed i was fighting for us alone because

you.stopped carrying an umbrella but somehow managed to stay dryer than

me.too tangled up in our kinks to pick up on that far away look recently acquired by

you.like you had something on your mind but just not

me.you

you.her.

On (not) being trans

nonbinary

i’m not trans

i’m not trans because i don’t want to talk to you about it
because i’ll wear a dress to your wedding, i promise won’t embarrass you in front of your fiancée’s family
because i was so surprised to hear that you just want me to be happy loving whoever i want to love that i don’t want to fuck it up
because i’m not going to sit here and explain non-binary gender to a woman who has stared back blankly at every accomplishment and trauma i’ve had for the last 29 years

i’m not trans because my identity is intersectional
because i’m not white
because i don’t have access
because by the time i found out what ftm stood for, female-bodied was already outdated and i couldn’t figure out if i was supposed to be cafab or dfab

i’m not trans because i’m not a man
because i’m a fucking faggot
because a transman called me ma’am last night
because my preferred gender pronouns are plural and i don’t know how to make that make sense

i’m not trans because my body isn’t wrong in the right ways
because i don’t hate my breasts until i’m trying to put on a button down
because they don’t make the type of body i’d be comfortable in
because i have triple d’s and a full goatee without surgery or hormone injections and i hate them both equally

i’m not trans because i’m not here for your love conditional, post-racial, binary, one-size-fits all assessments of my gender
and i don’t need to explain myself to you

– The Colored Fountain

On lemons

You’ve heard it said that if life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. But this saying relies on the assumption that everyone is given something. To all those who weren’t given anything and still made something out of nothing, your strength is your beauty…Happy Women’s History Month.

On expressions of emotion

They condition you to believe that the worst thing you could be is offended. They call you dramatic, over-reactor, and too sensitive. They teach you to shame criers and silence the angry. The cool kids are the ones with no reaction, the cynics, the indifferent, the unemotional. We are taught to become like that. Forget empathy, ignore pain – even when it’s your own, and whatever you do, don’t care. And while we are all so busy trying to be cold and emotionless it becomes easy take away our personhood since, are we even people if we don’t feel?

On loneliness

Loneliness is a terrifying ailment though not through the condition of not having someone to be around. Its symptoms are found in the feeling that you need to have someone to be around. They are in the fear that makes you tolerate less than you deserve, more than you can rightfully stand, all for the sake of the warmth beside you. They are in in the knowledge that your own company isn’t interesting enough, doesn’t fulfill you enough, can’t care for you enough. that knowledge which makes you hold on to another all the tighter because you can’t see how anybody could keep company with one you can’t bare to be alone with.

You search for the answer in someone else’s arms but you already know it. If you don’t deserve care then another’s time would be better spent elsewhere. And if you do deserve care then you should be first in line to provide as much of that care as you can. And both of those answers leave you alone sometimes. And that’s ok.

plus

i’ve been fat the whole time you’ve known me

that means i probably intend to stay fat

it means my love affair with food is deep

and good-fitting jeans are just a jump-off

it means i bought a snack to eat while i was making dinner

and called it foreplay

it means that, remember that time when you called & and was like ‘oh i can’t talk right now’ & you was like ‘who’s over there with you’ & i was like ‘nobody’?

i lied, it was a half-gallon of soft serve

and…half a pack of oreos

…the whole pack of oreos

it means that the other woman is betty crocker

and if you don’t get that bass out your voice i’m moving her in & you out

 

it means that if

through some miracle of modern science and zumba

i were to get skinny

it would probably just be a temporary stop off on my way to elastic waist pants

so i’m not throwing out the big girl panties just yet

and if you don’t love my big voluptuous fly amazonian ass

right the eff now

you don’t love the real me

On Willow

Listen. Is it weird that I want to be Willow Smith when I grow up? (taking into full consideration that none of us know who Willow really is and this whole Willow as unicorn fairy child / Jada as mother of the year bit could be the most devious and amazing marketing scheme ever)

I mean to say, if any of us was raised in a way that respected our authentic, constantly changing, powerful, magical selves would I be whipping my lopsided-ass fro around with as much utter disregard of the status quo and other’s opinions as this fierce young person seems to have? Or would that be ages ago for us, would we have gotten that out of the way in our pre-teens like Willow? Would we now be living and shining in the glory of our power today instead of collectively sweeping up all our little broken pieces and trying to fit them back into each other into something that feels useable? Would we still be reveling in the success of just functioning another day, getting out of bed another day, dragging our depressed and degraded masses into the world another day–or would we be capable of something more, something beyond our wildest dreams?

Or are we still actually capable of something more and maybe just got a late start? Just in case, I’m gonna start my day by reading some Pinkett-Smith & swinging this fro around.