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for roger

By July 24, 2012Blog

my place was always in a shadow
there was never a right moment to speak
or laugh. when they pried my legs apart
fresh outta my mothers womb
they shoulda told me go back
girl, go back in and hide
take cover, they shoulda
warned me about the war.
Instead of borrowing books
from the walls of my mother’s
regrets, i coulda been preparing
in her uterus, coulda been studying
the proper way to load a rifle,
i wouldve known the heart at
greater length, couldve learned
well ahead of time how to operate
heavy machinery.

sometimes when i sit in a room
full of black women
i am counting the ride or die bitches
i am ducking down behind
my spirit, praying they wont vote me
the martyr.

i am convincing myself
we aren’t bitter
fighting the word so desperately that
i laugh with the womanizer,
i play cards with the cheater
i dance with the dead beat
all the while flirting with anger.
i never liked anger,
it was always my least favorite of
emotions but damn, how that bitch

when i hear a strange mahogany voice
i wrap my ears around the words
the sound of such instrument is
haunting heaven, some songs
i will never sing
simply because im expected to do so.

some men i will never love
simply because i love them.

 when i rose into a conversation of your artillery
when i marched along the battlefield
noting the bodies laying around us
i was praying that the casualties
would understand,
that somehow they pitied you
even then
rather’d you live and wrestle a lifetime
of demons, then beheaded and forgotten,
i rather you remembered.

each day is a memorial
for some woman
waiting at a dining room table
in chicago, on a damp april night
sharpening the rotating blades
in her mouth,
with an automatic in her lap
a finger stuttering on the trigger.

it doesn’t heal me to see you hurt
doesn’t make the wounds
go away. if i can encourage you
to put down your weapons,
maybe we can both make it out

lately, i’ve been playing russian roulette
with whiskey shots
clenching my eyes at bitterness
when he walked into the room
last night, i felt like a victim
for the first ten minutes
then a chill came through me,
men are walking coffins
of secrets, they make love on grave sites.

i say this to say,
your past never goes away
ten years from now
you may be caught pushing
your daughter in a cart down the grocery aisle
and there are still those women
women whose bodies tense and quake
when they see you,
whose blood boils with flashbacks
of your fingers around their throat,
your thrust breaking them open
memories on aisle 4
perhaps, you are a better man now

but you still hold her tight
in nightmares.

sometimes it’s too late
the memory is stale
is poison and gangrene,
sometimes it must be cut off
in order
to live. 

c. 2010