Ghetto Love Song

Ghetto Love

He told me that what we had was a ghetto love,
said it’s the kind of love he’s always prayed for.
He said, “You are the God woman who holds up
my son. I am the moon that flutters around
in your orbit. There was a single star that needed
an exclusive embrace and you allowed him to be
touched by your all-inclusive Grace.” He said,
“Life now has a repositioned purpose. Don’t just
walk and talk, but also sit and listen. I am the pencil
and you are the paper and one day our collaborations
will lead a nation of non-façade thinkers.”
Sweet words like those that seemed to grow wings &
that set my heart all aflutter kept me believing him
when he said we had a ghetto love. Then he played
the song for me and I knew ours was a love so true.
But like everything in the ghetto, I found it’s not true.
In the ghetto you see one thing & know another. The
same is true of my part-time lover. He sang all the words
to the ghetto love song but when I needed him most,
he was gone. Cause a ghetto love ain’t no love at all;
it’s all just for show. Just like Lisa Lisa I was searching
for someone to love me for me when I should have been
accepting only the person who see value and worth in me.
The one who wouldn’t use my love as a weapon against me.
But maybe this is just me thinking out loud
and maybe this is a ghetto love still trying out its wings.
It’s almost like living a second childhood where I
Entered a door where love is filled with possibilities
that seem unlimited, but reality is something entirely different.
We spend hours daydreaming, then depart to a different
existence, one where words don’t dictate actions &
actions belie surface feelings of an under-the-cover mission.
People do fall in love in mysterious ways; I fell in love with you
because I saw magic. Magic in your smile, magic in
your eyes, and your words and touch were magic too.
If only I knew that in the ghetto, magic is just another word
for delusion to the nth degree and what you feel for me
is nothing like the magic love I feel for you then maybe
it wouldn’t have taken so long to write this poem
because I’d already know: a ghetto love ain’t no love at all.

Peace & Love,

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Life & Death

Today was a really difficult day for my family. Our dog died today. There’s more to the story, but I don’t really feel up to recounting it. I’m just in a lot of pain right now. And all I know how to do is write about it because that’s what I do.

I’m experiencing so much grief right now, I don’t know how to keep myself from being consumed with it.

Grief is exploding from me
like molten lava. Translucent like
tears, burning a fiery trail
along my face. I hate
what I see, facing death
while watching you flee. How
can you stay if you already know
you don’t truly love me? Isn’t
it better to let me face death
alone? Isn’t it better to show me
that I’ll always face death alone?
I buried death in my own back yard
and already it’s starting to smell.
Loving you and needing you,
my own personal hell. Life and death
are in the choices we make. And
apparently I’ve chosen death.
That’s why I had to bury it. Alone.

Peace & Love,

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Chaos of Goodbye

Sometimes when I just can’t seem to find the time to write, I will pull out something I’ve jotted down before and see if I can turn it into something. I found some lines from early June that I’d written in my journal and this is what I came up with:

The expected chaos of good-bye
sometimes eclipses the truth.
My body is filled with you, for days,
while my days are spent unpacking
the heartache loving you has caused me.
Like my mother and her mother before
and every other woman before them
I carry a song of longing in my heart,
one that you labeled as strong
showing that you didn’t care all along.
I was just a careless note, something
to fill the empty spaces, improvisation
making it up as you go along, knowing
the song wouldn’t last very long.
I’m just one of those strong black women
who carries the bones of soulless love
like a dog looking for a place to bury the hurt.
Grandma told me that love is a choice
and the transparent truth is that
you don’t choose me, choosing instead
to devour my love like shabby leftovers
before pulling away from the table.
Yet, I choose to sit here day after day
mending my own broken heart, just
to allow you to break it again.
You keep breaking my heart,
cracking it like the pecans granny used to
eat after a long day’s work. Mindless clatter
of shells spilling to the floor
covering the noise of my tears, falling.

Peace & Love,

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Mystery Shoes

I collect images like rocks, shiny little rocks that I may pick up along the way. Some of the images keep me up at night, won’t allow me to sleep; other images haunt me daily and I’m unable to shake. Unknowingly, I collected some pretty rocks yesterday.

I was driving down the street, headed home when I passed an SUV. The woman driver had jumped out and she was standing in the middle of the street shrieking. There was a man too, but I didn’t see him at first. I drove past but something within told me to turn back around and go see if I could help her. When I turned around I saw why she was shrieking. Her windshield was fractured. A man was draped across the top of her truck, his blood pouring down the side of her car. And the man, the one I hadn’t seen at first, had climbed on top of the truck and was yelling the name of the man draped across the top. After being assured that an ambulance was being called, I left. I kept going, knowing there was nothing I could do but join the swell of onlookers who were drawn there by the gory scene. As I was pulling away, I saw a pair of white tennis shoes near the sidewalk. I was sure these were the shoes the man had been wearing before…just before.

Those images I collected remained with me all throughout the evening. One kept me from being able to fall asleep and one greeted me as I woke up this morning. And one of the two will never ever leave me. It’s just one of those things they don’t tell us –like what it really looks like to witness someone you love die – those things you have to discover on your own. I won’t try and rid myself of the images because they remind me of the fragility of life and how important it is to live life fully and lovingly.

Mystery Shoes

The shoes in the road

were not enough

to tell you

who he was or

where he’d been or

even where he was going.

They were simply shoes,

not enough to make you

notice him

and perhaps that’s why

you looked away.

Didn’t see him till it was

too late.

And by then his shoes

were empty.

In the one second

it took

to look away

you were


Peace & Love,

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Amusement Park Visit

I once visited a hastily thrown together
amusement park. Now I pass them by,
knowing there’s nothing there for me.
I have no use for death-defying rides
designed to scare the fuck out of me
in the middle of a sea of empty parking
spaces. I have visited one of those drive-thru
type of scenes but I’ve never visited a
hastily put together type of love. I know
the rides at one of those things, the ones
set up in parking lots will only make me
sick. One ride for sure took me way up high
before suddenly dropping me down low.
Like it briefly saw value in me
but just as quickly changed its mind.
Instead of telling me, it took me on a ride
whose sole purpose was to entertain me
while making me feel like shit.
I’ve never wanted the schizophrenic
type of feeling that comes with that type of love—
the one that makes me happy only some of the time
and leaves me feeling empty most of the time.
Like the empty feeling that comes over me
when I’m suddenly carried way up high and
just as quickly I’m being dropped down low
on a ride that is surely here today – it’s
not a mirage—but may not be around tomorrow.

Peace & Love,

amusement park ride
Photo courtesy of Fox News

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He Said, She Said Revisted

He Said, She Said Revisited

She said, I hid my sadness
in a façade of strength.
He said, I admire your strength.

She said, I feel like I’m losing me,
trying to hold on to you.
He said, I see you. And, one day…
one day.

She said, I feel like I’m losing you
like I lose parts of you every day.
He said, You’ll always have me.

She said, My tears are nearly
drowning me. I can’t swim.
He said, I know you’ll learn.
One day.

She said, Will you tell me that
you love me?
He said, Silly girl. Don’t I show you
every day that I couldn’t possibly
love you like I already love me?

Peace & Love,

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Young, Black, Gifted, & Dead

Young, Black, Gifted & Dead

Life is a Greek tragedy
when you’re black like me.
The menacing quality of
the color of my skin
was birthed while my mother
was still covering me. A
murderous plot to overthrow me
was hatched with the planting
of my father’s seeds. An enemy
always at my back, hunting me.
Death himself stalking me,
haunting me like we’re bitter rivals
fighting for an earthly kingdom.
He developed a taste for the blood
coarsing through me, his final defeat
collecting my lifeless body. After
someone who looks just like me,
black soul, brown body
snatches my life from me.
You thought my mother loved me
till she left a trail, to get to me,
for that damn enemy: Death.
Or some street pharmacist or
crooked ass physician leaves me
with a bullet inside my head while the chorus
sings the tired ass melody,
at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Like somehow his life is worth more than mine
because his so-called struggle includes selling dime
bags and cooked meth to young black men
who look just like my daddy &
very well could be their own. And mothers
who’ve been struggling to breathe
since the day they were born. And they’re
still struggling to be free & trying to
fulfill a need that no street drug could
ever fix. It’s just a fix that’s temporary
& nothing that’s temporary can last.
Seems like I’m trapped
in some warped ass, lame ass cartoon
where I feel like Tom keeps chasing me
except he’s wearing a cop’s costume,
a dirty ass cop trying to eradicate me &
all who look like me. That’s the race you run
when you’re black like me. I have to close
my eyes, like blind justice, to try and be
invisible to the dirty ass cop who wants to
put twelve bullets in me. He’s supposed to be
protecting his beat—the heartbeat of a system
designed to commit mental & emotional murder
of me. He couldn’t believe the real Enemy
of the State was him, not me.
I only wanted to release my seatbelt
so I could finally breathe. I’d been
holding my breath since the red, white, & blue
lights of death began to follow me.
An involuntary memory keeps me from being
able to remain free. That’s how you control me.
The color of my skin has trapped me.
Made me a victim of a reality where I
step into the role you wrote for me. The role
of a lifetime: Young, black, gifted & dead.

Peace & Love,

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Cradle Me

Cradle me
within your love.
Don’t let me fall.
Let me suckle
the juices
that flow,
the sweetest nectar.
Don’t poison me.
Love me
as a mother does,
Bathe me,
shower me
with adoration
that will flow
till I finally know
I am loved.

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The Boxer

The Boxer

Can you spare a love?
She asked for his heart,
just as polite as you please
& she tried to ignore
the red boxing gloves
covering his brown hands.
Overlooked the way he
beat her heart without
tripping over lost love.
Just gathered up her belongings
when he left her heart
lying in the middle of the floor,
a technical knock out fo’ sho.
When she came to, she
wondered how she’d missed
his unyielding fighting stance
& TKO dance. How she never
knew loving provoked the fighter
in him. Blood didn’t frighten him,
he liked to see it run like water &
like she would when he would
chase her. It wasn’t about the way
she nearly drowned after
the fight, for him it was only
about the casual dance of two fighters
in the middle of the ring.

Peace & Love,

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People are so quick to say I love you. Because it feels good to say. But if it only feels good to say and doesn’t feel good to show, maybe it’s not really love. Maybe it’s something else altogether different from love. Like guilt. Or  control. Or I don’t know what. Just something else.

Today’s poem contains only five words:

Love is not a weapon.

Peace & Love,

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