Mattering

doesn’t seem a big deal
your language and ideas
feeding someone who seeks
to starve you
to isolate you
to erase you
until you recognize
that the engineer of your destruction
looks and sounds like you
that is black respectability politics
at its worst
when your work does not count
until it no longer belongs to you
until it no longer represents you.

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Watch the tide


This is the wane of the full moon
the time to toss to the sea
that which must be discarded
that which no longer serves you
that which no longer comforts you
she or he who is toxic to the spirit
now banished from sight
such is life
these are people you forget exist
revert to distant strangers
cast into the sea
burn the letters
wipe away all paths to you
burn the sage
salt down the steps
arise renewed
I am released.

unpredictable

beyond expectations
like thunder after lightning
like carpets of fire following lava
logic of energy released
love manifests
so untrackable
so unpredictable
so unstoppable
so unending
like storms
like eruptions

saying it

as if good wimen are silent
while bad wimen are loud
since respectability politics
demand female silence and emptiness
such irony matched with urgency
in these struggle times
for all wimen to echo out
our righteous right
to love and pleasure
this not being prioritized enuf
this healing need to feel joy
necessitates me saying it

I use your insults against me as poetry

So yes, folk, I do get fan letters. I also get trolls. And then there’s spies who look at my social media for the purpose of running my name up and down hallways because they have nothing better to do, which is ironic, considering the fact that most of them get bigger paychecks than me. In fact one of them sent a nasty note to me via FB msgr whining about me being “sexually frustrated, anal retentive, and racist.” Someone, probably a man who really resents my voice on matters like consent and privilege, wrote this whiny set of accusations. I’m petty enough to use it in the next three poems in a short series called the accusations. Use it, said Blade to Whistler. Use it.

 

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My Father the Teacher

My Dad taught me how to ride a bike
he took us to the park to fly kites
he took us on walks
he worked the night shift to feed us
he was there in my life

My Dad was also an angry man
as Black men living in America must be
because anger at injustice should be expected
but he also did what angry Black men do
he went to church even though he despised it
but even as he hated church
he still took us to church
he was there in my life

My Dad at 79 continues to teach me
even as i now teach him feminism and texting
even as we teach each other forgiveness
even as he continues to teach me
about the history of Black men in America
just as he taught me Black History as a child
he is here in my life.