My mother died believing in love.
At least that’s what I tell myself
A cushion for the killing blow
The knowledge that I borrowed life
Was given light from a flickering flame
Just to carry a torch in her absence
I wish I had more than pictures
I long for more than illustrations
From those who can easily claim how much they miss an angel who’s no longer here to intercede on their behalf.
I wish I saw her approval in the mirror
Hope that one day I’ll glimpse what could’ve been her and my father
Given a second chance vicariously in their son and a match who’s hopefully every missing edge to a broken man
If nothing else, I want God to know that I took the challenge he handed to a one year old and made good on what Angela never got the chance to.
I just wanna breathe the dream of the dearly departed into existence to make good use of the God in me.
Maybe then it’ll all be worth it.
I’m all out of apologies.
Seems like I’ve come up with enough lies to match my scars to the point where you’d think I stabbed myself in the back
Ripped my own heart while beating
Plucked the wings on every butterfly fluttering in my stomach just to make sure I’d never mistake a warning again
And bled my own wrists dry just to bring me closer to the end
I’ve been run through in the same places by similar blades held by near identical people so you’d almost think I just suck at suicide.
I’ve been dusting over your tracks so long I can’t tell if they lead to the abuser or the victim
And yet you wonder why I can’t let go of the past.
Inquiring why my emotions stay anchored in stormy times instead of trading them for summer
Questioning the meaning of words given only half the power they were born to impart
Investigating to see if my story is as ironclad as you’d guess your own appears
What I don’t yet understand is how I owe you forgiveness for killing me slowly for years and having the audacity to call it love.
I don’t have an ounce of it left, it now lines your wallet, warms your pockets and keeps you company at night
Meanwhile I’m still looking around for evidence that I ever possessed the ability in order to temper the temper I held back just to keep from thundering vengeance through your front window
I owe you nothing. And yet I’m here trying to remember how to spell out I’m sorry.
I guess it’s easier to ignore that I should be atoning to myself before I ever grant your pardon.
There was a time when my eyes looked up to your kind.
Days when I anticipated show and tell because I knew that one day I’d get to ride along on patrol.
I have since outgrown my naiveté, knowing all too well that those moments of sitting behind the bulletproof glass as a child were meant to turn bittersweet in my mouth
Because black boys can dream of justice until they wake up as primary suspects for crimes they’ve yet to commit as men.
All my life I’ve only wanted to know what the prize was for making it past 13 with a clean record, 16 with no kids, 18 with a diploma and 21 with your breath just to find out what was living is now survival
So when you ask me why i tense up every time sirens pass me by ask yourself what the odds are that I’d end up on the wrong end of a jail sentence simply for looking like the right guy at the wrong time
After all, isn’t your typical criminal above 5”5, darker than a page of paper and built like he’s spent his whole life training to escape prison bars and squad car backseats?
Explain to me why my mind will get me closer to a casket than a career simply because CEOs would rather see me as a consumer than competition,
would prefer a college degree from anywhere never associated with educating slaves or their descendants, would rather I remain in my wretched corner of a city where the streets run rampant with runaway shells striking innocents at random instead of dreaming of sharing vacation space with them in the Hamptons
If you won’t answer those then at least humor this.
Why is it that a cops uniform matches the same color as medieval executioners, with a badge engraved with a promise that only those of a fairer skin and privileged zip code can cash in.
The steel at your waist might as well be a guillotine.
Your shield only defended me when I was too young to become a bonus on your quota
and those red and blue lights on a white car accented with black only reminds me that freedom was never meant for men who can’t afford to line officers wallets to avoid shackles.
My precursors once held choice words for the police, but rather than echo the sentiments of niggas with attitudes born from the frequent discrimination visited upon people of color in my hometown I just wish to inform you that if you wish to continue acting as if they’ll Grant you an Oscar for pretending to protect and serve the interests of colored folk,
you can put down your black and slide back into your white robe and hood. Trade those flashing lights for a burning cross and the seal of my state for a swastika.
You aren’t fooling anyone.
Hello 1 am.
It’s been far too long since sleep dropped me off on your doorstep
You’re probably used to hearing me knock on wood while arm in arm with insomnia but I suppose she had better things to do tonight.
You’ll remember the last time I was in your neck of the woods, freshly deposited off the last train of coherent thought, I misplaced my heart and mysteriously enough my common sense went along with it.
I was hoping you’d be kind enough to show me where you keep it, hoping you’re the type to Take Care of abandoned emotions without so much as a Thank Me Later because Nothing Was the Same once I wandered off leaving them guessing how long my Comeback Season would take to come around and I’ve been So Far Gone for too long that the concept of feeling anything at all on purpose is foreign.
But our relationship was never Exclusive, so I’d be wrong to get upset if you decided to honor my drunken trust with an X, crossing out the object in your possession as collateral in your favorite form of Graffiti knowing that once the dust of Fame and Fortune settled I’d be back to collect my things regardless of their condition.
Part of me is naive enough to think that the corner of the city you dwell in is safe enough for me to hang around, silently praying that you’ll welcome me inside long enough to compose myself before sunrise comes calling after her long lost lover again.
But i could never be surprised, shocked or anything more severe in emotion than sad if you asked me to return to the path I chose instead of the comforts of your home, leaving me too the mercy of the demons clawing at my heels while being held back by rays of light that danced freely only hours earlier before the sun departed my side of town.
I never knew you to be anything but cruel while simultaneously being amazed to see just how much you loved to watch my drunken stupor over the idea of helping me find the sheep keeping me from confessing my undying love for slumber.
So i suppose I’m just a fool who couldn’t stay away from your sirens call long enough to avoid the effects of lingering in your presence.
But can you blame me? It’s been a long time since I felt like falling in love with something other than an hour that never learned how to honor my affection.
I’m that ex you’ll always loathe but you’d
hate my guts more if I went back to the days when I used to visit with the woman whose image running a marathon in my thoughts brought me calling to borrow a resting place once kept warm for one.
If you feel like playing nice, maybe I’ll stick around longer than the seconds counted as you hold your breathe wishing I’d forget her and go back to being alone again.