Where Are You Going?

Where are you going? The question
burns in my throat. Agonizing pain as if
I have swallowed a spear. I need to know
where you are going. Are you travelling to a place
where little girls’ souls are draped across power lines
like ill-fitting clothes on clotheslines, where no one
cares to wear them anymore? Are you going
to the place where skulls burnished with brain matter
are used to sip tea? Men wearing singlets, holding
wooden-carved rifles smile and through the holes in
their cracked and rotting teeth it’s possible to see
destruction has been the plan all along. Will you tear down
all that the others have built, leave behind the burning embers
that scald the tongue when you try to remember? Isn’t it
easier to forget how it once felt to have the warm moistness
of a nectarine resting on your tongue while you reclined
in the sun, its fingertips reaching down to touch that spot
on your neck? Can you see the trees swaying in the wind,
yielding so easily, as if though they have no spine?
They say the war will be civil, blood shed like a dripping faucet
left running overnight instead of like festering hate
has been left in the sun so long, it now smells like death.
Will you ever not dream of the scent of burning flesh, hear
the crackling of flesh and bones as if the world is nothing more
than a fireplace? Will you not ever wake to find that screams
fill up more than the spaces in your mind, they surround you,
menacingly they advance on you until you finally break?
And then where will you go?

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

burned home and car

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Empty Spaces

Last night I dreamed that I was in my grandmother’s house, a place I no longer go since she passed away. I was staring out the kitchen window. Someone I recognized in the dream, but not when I woke up, was sitting outside in a car. They were staring up at my grandmother’s house. And this person was holding a gun to his or her own head. When I realized what they were about to do, I opened my mouth to scream for them to stop but the person did not heed my muted screams. They pulled the trigger. Only they didn’t die right away, so somehow this person went back to just before they had shot him or herself and did it again. The second shot also was disappointing, so they started over again and the third time I think was right on target. They died right away just like they’d wanted.

And I woke up.

And I wrote a poem.

Here’s the poem.

You place guns to temples
and shove them down throats.
Pull the trigger, take lives
as if empty coffins are being buried.
You are like the men who love women
without feelings,
carving out empty spaces
where once lives used to dwell
leaving behind
nothing but dirt and bones,
using destruction
to make a name for yourself.
One as ephemeral as
all the lives you’ve stolen.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

 

empty coffins

photo courtesy of gettyimages. 

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Dear Father

The illusion shattered
like broken glass & the shards
lay exposed.
You didn’t love me.
I went through life
being cut by the lies & rejection
that was your love.
Love should have come natural
but somehow
it never came at all.

How did you escape undamaged?
How did you learn to escape loving me?

I spent years trying to
get you to fall in love
with me. I never was able to see
that you never loved yourself
You only knew how to bury yourself
in the folds of other people’s rejection of you.
You clung desperately
to temporary validation found
in the eyes of those who
avoided seeing you. Showing you love
as long as they needed something from you.

My dear Father, why couldn’t you see
the way loving you
always brought me such pain?
Why did you choose to cut me with your love
when I only wanted to
heal you with my love?

Didn’t you know my love was true?

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

father and daughter

 

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An Altar to Sacrificed Love

Cracked jars of clay line the walls
Blood soaks the walls; smudged streaks
like tears    Voices rise from the red dirt
full of phlegm and muted     tortured screams
finally released

The room, an altar to the sacrifice of love

Did they always carry our pain, trapped
in their throats? Did they always know
someone would be there to steal our
happiness, someone there to steal our lives?

If you venture to open the door, will you be
carried back to yesterday?

The walls are slippery with our tears and our blood
It’s impossible to find a way out. The way out
must be found through love, not sacrifice

Heed the voices of the ghosts
Heed the voices of the ones who love

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Por Que

the language i read
in your eyes
when you look at me
is a foreign language
i don’t speak

in school
i learned a little spanish
but
i don’t really remember

blanco
is white, right?
cuando
that’s how much or how
many, right?
por que
why?

i don’t know

did we ever speak
the same language
or
have we always been
lovers
who traveled from
foreign lands

true intentions
lost in translation
worthless currency

now i shield my eyes
to prevent
you from seeing
that i already know
we’ve always been speaking
two different languages

por que?
porque

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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The Painting

I see your face in
dreams that leave me

drenched
in perspiration

In one dream
I am painting your face,
unguarded, open,
your essence fills my
canvas; we are in a field
of dandelions

My brushstrokes are
short, choppy, hesitant.
I am trying to
complete the picture
before I wake and
before you leave.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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The Taste of Your Words

Can we make a trade,
my words for yours? Not
just a conversation; we don’t
need words to speak. We have brief
glances that transform the air around us
into longing. We have the brush of your
finger against my skin until it tingles with
anticipation. We have a shared language
that lives inside our love. One look
from you conveys the depth of your
desire for me, but I want something more.
Is that selfish of me? That I want to
take your words and swallow them whole,
turning them over inside
my mouth like pieces of candy?
I want to taste your every word, savor
the flesh that exists behind your words.
I want to run my finger along the lid of your
intention until I know everything there is to know
about you. Will you be my teacher, teach
me the history of you? Did your mother ever force
you to sit at the table until all your vegetables were
gone? Did you rush home after school to watch
the evening cartoons? Did you sit at the kitchen table
most nights to study? Did you swell with pride when your
mom would look over your report card? When your dad
took you with him in the car, did you swing your feet
or were your feet able to touch the floor? Did you look
for me underwater when you went to the swimming
pool? Did you lie in the bed and dream our love into
existence? When you stood in front of the mirror
getting ready for school, did you search for me in
your own eyes as you looked toward the future?
Did you walk past vivid flowers that fill the air with their
aroma and imagine bringing me a bunch of wildflowers?
You knew didn’t you? You always knew that
forever would be birthed by inevitability and that our destined
meeting would turn into a lifetime spent exchanging
my words for yours. And that sometimes I’d hold onto your
words, making no exchange. Sometimes I want to just hold
your words like I’m holding you. Sometimes no words at all
would be needed to say, I love you. But still we would
because it’s true. I love you and I have since the day
I stood holding those words on my tongue, wondering if it
was too soon, but you saw the truth in my eyes. And, for us,
that was just the beginning.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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A Love Like Home

I cannot handle loving
another person who doesn’t
get that loving me means offering
me another place to call
home, a place where my soul
doesn’t feel the need to unravel
& leave a trail to a place where
I am no longer me. I will not seek
shelter in any more abandoned spaces
that have been left empty; I have finally
learned how to love me & this loving
can’t be undone. & if that means
I’m one of the black women who
unofficial surveys and anecdotes claim
have given up on love, then that’s okay
with me. I will not force my being
or my acceptance into a place not meant
for me just so I can pass for
one of those girls in love – passing is a form
of self-degradation—you know the ones whose
smiles belie the sound of the tortured rattle knocking
in their souls, that tell-tell sign that something is
wrong. But you learn to ignore it because it’s
better to suffer for love, to break down for love,
to slip into the malignant shadows of
an ill-formed love than to be at peace
alone. Loving me feels like home & I won’t
abandon that love for anyone. Ever. Again.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Dying Flower

Deep down
there’s a place where I
have learned to suppress desires, to
let them wither and
die

My silent suffering is

rooted in the fragile
leaves
of a dying bloom.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

dying flower

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Jessie Mae– Installment Two

The sudden chiming of bells startled him. Looking back out the windows, he saw that Jessie Mae was no longer standing where she’d been before. He at first ignored the doorbell thinking it must be her at his door, but the bells became one long sonorous clanging as if though someone were resting a palm against the bell. Go away, he muttered under his breath. But the unwanted visitor did not go away, so he was forced to stop and go see who was at the door. When he looked out the peephole, he didn’t see anyone, so he was about to head back out to the garage. “Mr. Evans,” the voice called out as if though she’d seen his face when he was looking through the peephole. “Are you home, Mr. Evans? Mrs. Evans?” It was his neighbor from down the street, Aurora. A Jehovah’s Witness who stopped by once or twice a week to talk to Lenora about “Jehovah and the paradise that was waiting on the other side of death but only for those who served Jehovah.” He had no interest of talking to Aurora. That’s why he always invented some chore or fix-it project that needed to be competed and excused himself whenever she was inside the house. He ignored Aurora and headed back to the garage. He didn’t go directly back to stacking the packages in the freezer. He waited for the quiet that settled throughout the house when she finally stopped ringing the doorbell. Once she went away, he got back to work.

Jessie Mae was kneeling in her garden to investigate the fragile petals of the sleepy morning glory flowers while Larry was stacking the packages of flesh in the freezer. She’d seen Aurora knocking on Lenora’s door and had been surprised when her friend didn’t open the door and welcome the young woman inside. Lenora seemed to enjoy talking with Aurora even though she’d said she could never convert to a witness because something about it seemed cultish. “I get the feeling that all of them are going to get together for assembly and drink poisoned Kool-Aid and I can’t do that girl. I don’t want to go until he,” she pointed up toward the sky, “calls me to come home.” Still, Lenora was the only one on their street who didn’t hide behind closed doors and curtains when Aurora and her friends knocked on their doors. That’s really strange. Lenora never avoids Aurora. I’ll call her later to see if she’s taken to hiding out too, she laughed to herself. Such beautiful flowers, her thoughts diverted back to the work at hand. I wish I could get them all to bloom at the same time. It would be so beautiful to have them all open at once. Next door, Larry was thinking to himself, It’s not all going to fit, as he stacked the packages in the freezer. At the same time, Jessie Mae’s four-year-old neighbor and his mother came outside and sat on their porch. The little boy was singing a song for his mother, one he’d learned in school. When he’d finished singing, his mother applauded and told him how wonderful he sounded. His sweet voice was like a pickaxe to Jessie Mae’s heart. She wiped away tears with the back of her hand as she forced herself to keep her attention on her flowers. Her neighbor launched into another song and the tears welled in her eyes making it difficult for her to focus on the flowers.

When Jessie Mae was pushing her trash cart down to the curb, Larry was standing before the mirror in his second floor bathroom admiring the freckles of blood that dotted his face, a galaxy splayed across the bridge of his nose. Though he’d been careful not to stain the floor with blood, his clothing and face and neck held traces of his wife’s blood. He brought his fingers up to touch his face and he licked the sweet nectar from his finger.

As she was walking back up her driveway, Jessie Mae glanced up toward her neighbor’s bathroom window. From where she was standing, she could make out the silhouette of his body. She’d stood in this exact spot on more occasions that she would ever admit to anyone watching Larry, her best friend’s husband. Guiltily, her eyes slid down to their front door to make sure Lenora hadn’t opened the door and was standing there. When she saw that the door remained closed, she went back to watching the man she’d loved since the day she met him.

When she heard the mail truck pulling to a stop behind her, she tried to avert her eyes quickly so Vince, who’d been delivering their mail for the past four years, wouldn’t realize he’d caught her once again staring up in Larry and Lenora’s bathroom window.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

*Note: Installment One can be found here.

(c) 2016 by Rosalind Guy

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