He Touched Me

                                                                                       He Touched Me

 

He touched me

in a forbidden place,

left the remnants of

greed & disillusion

in his wake. I was just

a child (inside) so why

did you blame me for

being hurt when

he touched me

over and over again,

knowing that his rough

touching & shoving

would leave me bloody

 

I bleed tears

from my eyes; they leave

a scarlet trail that carries

me to a place where

little girls aren’t free

to do anything but swing

from a tree

like forbidden fruit

that has been consumed

before its season & even

when you see me

right in front of your face

you know without a doubt

the essence of me

still hangs from the low

branches of that tree –

within reach, but too far

away for me to ever

be truly free

 

Like a zombie

I stalk the streets

looking for something

to satiate me

knowing nothing will

ever really fill me up.

I’ll always be empty.

 

A shell of a woman

whose no longer a girl

and all because

he touched me

 

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

girl with bear too

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psst! I Have a Secret: I’m Just A Little Insane Too

Life is too short to be living someone else’s dream.

Most of us spend a great deal of our lives killing ourselves (physically and mentally) to make someone else’s dreams come true. We spend more than half of each day working a job we don’t even like, much less love, then go home to people we don’t love either. Life seems to be one obstacle after another, we lament, not ever realizing we have become our own obstacles.

A great many relationships today were entered into to satisfy someone else’s dream, whether it be the parent who pressures you to settle down and start a family, the person who you were dating who began pressuring you to take things to the next level (of course you eventually submit to their wishes because you do love them, right?), or the societal pressure to conform to a misguided belief that one can never be truly happy and complete alone.

“A little bit of pleasure’s worth a whole lot of pain.”

Why do we work so hard for others when we are clearly neglecting our inner selves? Do we not believe that we deserve to live a life fulfilled? I mean, we were given the same chance at life as the next person, so why not chase our own dreams? Well, because…It’s the “normal” thing to do, right?

“Good morning, heartache. Sit down.”

It’s not normal to follow your own dreams, especially if it’s something that will take a while to manifest itself in your life, such as writing a novel, writing music, becoming a play actor, being an actress, or becoming an artist. (How will you pay your bills?)

“I’m catching hell living here alone.”

We convince ourselves that a good credit rating, driving the newest car, living in the biggest house, and earning one fat paycheck or lots of average-sized checks will make us incredibly happy. Well that is until it doesn’t.

“We got to prepare for some heartbreak.”

So many people eased behind the wheel of that expensive 2014 car today, deposited those checks in the bank, used their keys to open that McMansion, and then cried themselves to sleep. Or they spend hours drinking, trying to chase away the blues. (“Why am I so blue?”) Anything to fill that hole in their soul.

Back in the 80’s when I was trying to grow into myself, I listened to a bunch of songs that convinced me that it was a noble gesture to suffer for love. Being the teen who I was, one who desperately wanted to feel that love she didn’t have at home, I ate that shit up. “No Pain, No Gain,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and, of course, “Saving All My Love For You.” Self-talk. I was telling myself that it was okay to put myself through a whole lot of shit in the name of love. Well, what kind of message is that to give myself? Sorry, but I call bullshit on that one. I don’t have to suffer to show I “deserve” love. My anthem is no longer some lame ass love song that tells me I need to prove I’m worthy of love or that love is worth having after someone has hurt you as much as possible before getting an epiphany that he/she can’t live without you.

“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.”

No one ever says it’s okay to walk away from any relationship (business, person, or any other relationship) that doesn’t fulfill you. That’s why in the book/movie “Eat, Pray, Love” the narrator struggles with her decision to leave a marriage that on the surface seems perfect. She thought there was something wrong with her because a marriage with no real problems wasn’t fulfilling to her. Annihilation of self to accept what others deem as significant experiences, yes, that’s the killing of self we so willingly accept.

“Sunshine, blue skies, please go away.”

Luckily, she realized there was nothing wrong with her and she ended up experiencing life in a way that ended up resuscitating instead of killing her inner self. A life fulfilled. For her.

“It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

I started thinking about this when I went to court earlier this week. I was leaving the Criminal Justice Complex downtown when I saw a man leaning over a sewer grate, yelling at people below the street. He was yelling, “What the hell y’all talking about down there?”

“If You Think You’re Lonely Now, Wait Until Tonight.”

Another person’s initial response might have been to shake his or her head and mutter about the man being crazy, but that’s not what I thought. Instead, I wondered why it’s so hard for people to give in to express their true selves? We do things all day long so as not to appear crazy, but really we’re all a little insane, right?

“Take me to the other side of town

In Veronika Decides to Die, a guest speaker comes in to speak to a group of the mental patients. He tells them, “…stay insane, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.”

“It’s only fair that I let you know that the man you’re in love with, he’s mine from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.”

Ah, so, that’s the key. Be different, just don’t let others know. It’s okay to be insane. Just keep it a secret. Ooops! Guess I blew that, huh?

It’s No Secret, I’m Insane

What the hell you talking bout
down there, he yelled at the

ground. People stopped to stare
at him & to write him off as crazy.

But don’t you know that people
are living in the sewers and we’re

too crazy to notice. Even when we
hear the low rumble of voices from

beneath the streets, we choose to
ignore them, believing we’re free

from being labeled as crazy. So we
become zombies who march through

the streets like simple-minded sheep
being led to the slaughter, halfway asleep

at the wheel, just trying our best to not
appear too crazy. Doing our best to ignore

the voices of the people living beneath the streets.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

crazy pic

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Will Never View “The Fault in Our Stars” Movie

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter came into my bedroom and dropped a book on my bed. It was a book she’d just finished reading, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. She told me, “You have to read this. You will love it.” I took the book and added it to the large pile of “to be read” books beside my bed.

I finished reading Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho on my first day of fall break, which lasted all last week.  (Yay!) As I sifted through my TBR pile for a book to read next, I remembered my daughter telling me that I would love The Fault in Our Stars. So, that’s the book I chose.

And she was right. I love the book. It’s a tear jerker, but more than that, the book provides some very honest insight into the mind of a person who is battling a terminal illness.

From the very beginning, I have created a very real picture of how the main characters, Gus and Hazel are. I know them like my daughter knew me enough to suggest I read the book. That’s why I don’t want to see the movie.

The book is always much better than the movie because movie directors shatter the image we create in our minds as we read. And, we always prefer the images we create in our minds. That’s why people remain in situations long after they should, but that’s another topic for another time. I’m comfortable with the images I’ve created of Hazel and Gus. There is not an actor alive who would be able to pull off Gus’ quirkiness or Hazel’s vulnerability. They are characters I truly love and value. As they are. In my mind.

There’s a famous quote that says you have to let go of the life you’ve created in your mind to enjoy the one that’s actually unfolding for you. Or something like that. Anyway, I think you get the gist of what I mean. Sometimes the image we carry in our mind of the way things should be can cause us to ruin what we have. In the case of books though, that’s never the case.

I know that if I see the movie, the story will be ruined for me. Hazel won’t appear quite fragile enough on the movie screen because the movie directors are aiming for a different audience than John Green was when he wrote the story. And Gus’ quirks, I’m sure, won’t seem so quirky on the big screen. (Who else will be able to hold an unlit cigarette between their lips and express the metaphorical significance of not allowing the cancer stick to have the power over him?) I’m afriad to lose the image I have in my mind of two people who have become very important to me.

I know the danger of watching a movie after reading the book because I watched the movie “The Color Purple.” I can recite lines from that movie on demand.

“You sholl is ugly.”

“You told Harpo to beat me!”

“Girl child it ain’t safe in a family of men.”

“See daddy, sinners have soul too.”

“Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail.”

I could go on and on. Because I love that movie. The problem is I saw the movie before I had a chance to read the book.  So, every time I have sat down to read the book, I have had difficulty getting started. I already have a cast of characters in my mind. And I’ll never be able to shake those cinematic images from my mind, images I carry with me even now. I mean, come on, who can forget, Oprah Winfrey storming through the corn field and confronting Whoopi Goldberg. “You told Harpo to beat me!” The anger and confusion coloring her features, so palpable, the viewers couldn’t help but feel what she was feeling.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to let go of the images I have in my head of the way the characters should be (because of what I saw in the movie), but right now, I still love the movie too much to ruin it by reading the book. Because I’m more than certain there will be a difference. And I don’t know that I’m ready to live with that difference yet.

So, no, I will not be viewing the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Instead, it’ll become one of those books I pull out again and again to re-read in its entirety or just those parts that are significant to me.

Happy reading and writing peeps!

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swimming to Safety

Swimming in memories is a dangerous feat.
Six feet deep in memories of you and me,
I nearly drown as they encapsulate me,
wash me up on abandoned shores of misery
with my body responding to fatal memories
of your yam resting inside of me,
filling me up, touching and destroying walls,
a distant memory; my body folds under the weight
of memory, refusing to acknowledge what I can see,
that when you touched my body,
you failed to touch my soul, didn’t even
act like you knew I existed outside what you found
between my legs, spread wide,
welcoming your company,
trying to fulfill my soul needs, empty physicality.
I was too blind to see, you didn’t value me &
too lonely to care. Now I just wanna be free
but I don’t want to be alone, so I cling
to distant shores, littered with selfish vanity,
hoping one day you’ll change and come back to me.

Please don’t.

Happy writing and reading peeps. Got a whole week off for Fall Break and that’s all I’ll be doing. Hope to catch you out on the freeway of creativity!

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Wasn’t Born A Junkie

Sometimes I feel like a hoarder because I hardly ever throw things away. Receipts, bills, voided checks, and scraps of paper that have information on them that I’m not really sure how to use. Yesterday, I was going through some stuff, deciding what to keep and what to throw away.

I discovered a piece of notebook paper that bore only one line: “I wasn’t born a junkie.” I threw away everything except that paper. Then I started to write. I wrote part of today’s poem last night, the rest I finished today.

I Wasn’t Born A Junkie
By Rosalind Guy
© October 2014

I wasn’t born a junkie.
It’s just one of those things
I fell into, like love & madness.

Sucking on the end of a
crack pipe is reminiscent of
cradling a thickly veined penis
between my lips, sucking & slurping
like a cone spewing forth ice cream.

Taking a deep breath,
I have to relax before it
enters me. The smoke rushes
foward, grabs me
by the neck, then sets me free.

Adrift on a smoke-filled sea,
enveloped in a sublime haze;
an attempt to escape the misery
I have created for myself.

I pull the plastic tool back
from my lips. I just have to see
for myself the lovely smoke as
it fills me, forces my lungs to expand.

The pleasure leaves me feeling complete.
Inhale death, exhale life & push away memories-
the Holy Trinity.

The feeling is only fleeting.
Eventually my lover must leave.
He will get dressed quickly and
it’ll almost seem as if he was never
there; that is until he comes again.

It started as an innocent game
a game that, in fact, had no name.
the object of the game was to run
and hide and my uncle would turn
his head, pretend to look away.
He always knew, though, just where
to find me. It was easy for him.
I always hid in the exact same place
I went to my bed, hid under the covers,
thought to myself, “I’m really clever.”

Folded into the darkness underneath
my covers, I first took his penis in
my mouth. It was like eating candy,
that’s what my uncle told me. This
was a game all our own, our very own
little secret, nobody to share the shame.

I wasn’t born a junkie. It was a gift
bestowed to me by a friend who knew
that little boys have a very hard time
acknowledging that naiveté and
my uncle stole my virginity. In exchange
for my virginity, they gave me reality
covered in a sperm-colored bow,
a ribbon of eternity to avoid looking
in the mirror to see
the trail of tears mixed with semen,
the only remembrance for me
that really matters.

I wasn’t born a junkie.
It was a gift bestowed to me.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Nappy Roots

My Nappy Roots
© 2014 by Rosalind Guy

In the palm of
my hand
is the sum of my
bitter history.
It is a history steeped
with a poisonous
pain that runs deep and
stabs like hypodermic
needles, filling my veins
with
hateful words that are
seeking
to find life again.
It’s strong flavor –
a
shock
to the senses like
a cup of coffee made
from
beans that traveled
on ships,
crossed many seas &
water
filled with bones like
ice cubes in your glass
of water.

I stop to savor
what
it means
to be down there
trapped in the sea –
forgotten.
When I travel
across
paths created at my own
fingertips,
I am greeted by
a sea full of
griots
who remind me
the rough terrain
I will travel
every day
is
helping me to
build strength
and
find peace
in a place
where
those who thrive
are pissed off ‘cuz
black people dare to
survive.
“You ain’t s’pose to
be free,” they
remind me.

You call them
Maligners,
accuse them of
spreading lies
but
the truth is
there
wrapped in my roots
&
no matter how hard
you pull
I cannot, will not
be
free
from
my nappy roots.

ros pics 020

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

F*** the Police

As I wrote today’s poem, fragments of previous discussions floated through my mind:

“…be still or they’ll beat your ass…”

“sit down and shut up…”

“…shot an unarmed teen…”

“POP”

“…only going to laugh at you…”

“…you can’t win against the police; they protect each other…”

“…was just walking down the street…”

“…driving while black…”

“…walking while black…”

“…breathing while black…”

Memories of these previous conversations that reflect feelings about policing in the black community stirred up softball sized memories of songs I’ve heard before, songs with the message “f*** the police” at their central core.

The first time I heard the line, “f*** the police,” I was a teenager and had not had any encounters with the police. It was just a catchy tune and nice beat, so I danced to it and sang along with the rappers.

Sadly, since then, I’ve had many interactions with the police. I have three memories, in particular, that threaten to color the way I will view the police forever.

No, I haven’t experienced anything on the level with what many believed happened to Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. Or Eric Garner. Or John Crawford. Or Ezell Ford.

But I do know what it feels like to be stripped of my dignity & humanity by a police officer who deems me something other than who or what I am.

Here are my three incidents:

1. Four white officers pull me over late one night as I’m leaving work. They threaten to whip my ass because I started crying. I was afraid. And that fear was fed with their threats to beat me with their night sticks.

2. Mother’s Day a few years ago, I call the police because my then-husband was fighting me. They told me I was wasting their time and had ruined their Mother’s Day. They were all male officers. And black.

3. A couple of black officers stop me near the University of Memphis, a school where I received two degrees and where my three children currently attend. The officer had no reason to stop me, spent more than 30 minutes trying to come up with a reason to give me a citation (even was down in the back of my car studying my tags). Pissing off the police. I wanted to know what was going on. I foolishly believed I had rights, but they taught me that night, that I have none. And the next day when I spoke with the officers’ superiors and was brushed off, I learned a lesson more valuable than any that I could have learned as a student at the University of Memphis.

I learned that the lesson we teach our children: that they have to be better than people of other races to even be seen as human, that they will automatically be seen as criminals and thugs until they can prove otherwise…well,those lessons amount to nothing. The officers I have come in contact with have taught me that I will never be anything that a low-class nigger with a couple of degrees and that my voice will never carry further than my own house or social circles where we sit around and collectively release a sigh of frustration that we can never be enough or do enough.

Does my black skin

offend you?

Does my nonchalance

incite you &

allow you to draw from

the lies told to you

that black people are

beneath you, even though

you, sir, are black too.

And while I’m here sir

allow me to disabuse you of the

mentality that my black skin

automatically gives you just

cause to harass & abuse me.

 

I’m tired of having to fly

under the radar of your misconceptions

cause you mistakenly believe

I’m guilty…

guilty of living while black,

breathing in my mortality

like carbon monoxide, so yeah

I’m thinking I want to say

“F*** the police.”

This is not a scarlet F

I wear on my chest, I

have no desire to bear responsibility

of the handful of colored people who

know they are free to f*** up daily.

 

I’m tired of accepting

the futility of

struggling to be free

when the overseer has been

replaced by the gun-toting police.

Police who find me guilty

constantly, of driving, living

dreaming, and breathing while black.

That’s why you stopped me

because you were unable to

wrap your mind around the possibility

that I was guilty of …. NOTHING.

Your supervisor gave you a badge &

the responsibility of stripping away

my dignity, layer after layer, until

I’m small enough to cower beneath you.

So, yeah, I think I’m ready to say

“F*** the police.”

But I’ll say it quietly

because next time it could be

me lying dead in the street,

guilty of pissing off the police.

 

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thursday Comic

snoopy comic

A smile for my readers.

Happy writing and reading!

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strange Fruit

i am a sensitive piece of fruit
a pear that is easily bruised.
my fruit flesh a corporeal canvas
brushed over with violent slashes of color,
muted hues of blue and green,
a dotted landscape of pain.
beneath the vivid swaths of color
a place for me to hide the brown mushy
bruises like the one from one of those times
when my ex-husband hit me and
down underneath where no one
can see is a long gash left behind by
the man who didn’t want kids
even though my mom already had them.
he blew up one day and knocked me to the floor.
i fell down into a bowl of fruit salad,
sitting in the cobwebbed corner – alone.
lost where no one could see me
because no one bothered to look.
spiders, roaches, and other nighttime crawlers
walked all over me, sucked me down
to the core, left nothing behind for me.
and one night a stranger saw me
lying there, he quickly took out an old rusted
fruit peeler and started peeling back my layers,
seeking to find the best of me. He
wanted nothing but to drain me of my
passion fruit. one after another
people stopped by for a peak,
like tourists, gawking, to get a glimpse
of this strange fruit.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

bowl of fruit

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Bleeding Heart

Last night, I was out to dinner with my four kids. My youngest son, Cameron, chose the place so we were dining at Ihop. A few of my current and former students had been watching a movie at the theater next door and had spilled out into the streets as they waited for their rides.

We had been seated and were looking over the menus, though I already knew what I wanted, when we heard knocking on the glass separating the lobby and restaurant. I looked up and saw a gathering of students smiling and waving at me. My oldest son said “You’re like a celebrity. You see somebody you know everywhere we go. And if I saw my English teacher out somewhere, I’d try to act like I didn’t.”

My response: “I love my students and they know it.”

I don’t consider my job as a high school English teacher as merely an occupation, it’s a calling. Teaching was never something I wanted to be as a child. I cannot ever remember saying, “I’m going to be a teacher when I grow up.” I did want to write because I’ve always loved to write and read. But, no, I never ever wanted to be a teacher. Now that I am teaching, I know this is where I belong.

Teachers have the incredible opportunity to impact the lives of their students in ways that most other people don’t have. We can get our students to see opportunities where they only saw a cloudy or foggy future. We can help them imagine themselves doing and being people they never knew they could be. This is my soul-calling and I will remain here until it’s time for me to move on.

While I love them all, there have been a few I have developed special relationships with. These are the students who come and hang out with me in my classroom after school has been dismissed. Sometimes for assistance with assignments, sometimes just because. One of those students in particular has been on my mind this weekend. She inspired a poem I’m working on. In fact, when I was walking to the house yesterday after leaving my car at Firestone, the first few lines came to me and I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and had to jot them down.

My heart bleeds for
the daughters who
I didn’t give birth to.
Sometimes I wanna
scream & holler 4 all
the shit my daughters
have to go thru.
I wanna scream
Hey! This shit ain’t
right. I just wanna
scream at u
how fuckin’ dare u
put ur hands on
her me she, 2
do anything but luv
her me she when we
deserve 2 B treated
oh so carefully so
don’t u dare put ur
hands on me her she
2 smash me her she
in the face—SMASH it
that’s what u say when
u hav ur woman ur way
so
why r we surprised when
u don’t view us
as a prize but
as a trophy cuz
clearly there’s a
difference

Happy Sunday guys! Hug someone today, if not with your arms, then with your words. Words have the power to carry more than just meaning. Sometimes words have the power to change lives. Tell someone you love them. Let someone know they matter.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment