Hold My Hand

Here
hold my
hand. Take me
where you go.
But don’t let
go of my hand.
Where you go
I will follow.
I will close my
eyes, take a deep
breath, inhale
your scent
your smile
your spirit.
My only prayer
will be:
Stay.

Here
hold my
hand. Let’s
sway to the music
of our beating
hearts, a love like
no other. A love
like this frightens
me, but I will not
falter in my steps.
I will follow
where you lead.
My only prayer
will be:
Love.

Here
hold my
hand. Hold me
and I will
hold you.
Not too tight
to smother
but tight enough
to let you know
that it is my
prayer that I
am the answer
to all your
prayers
as you are
the answer to
mine.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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The Principal

For her. I apologize for not being there to save you.

Locked in a tight space
the two of us together

Power & Submission, sentries
that stand guard. But they’re not
there to watch over me.

He touched me & no one flinched
but me. I screamed but he pushed the
screams back down my throat with his cock.

He used it to shut me up, suffocated me
with his need. I shook my head.

He told me, “You’re so pretty.”
Then he broke me, so many pieces on the
floor, who would stoop to pick them up?

I shook my head, drank in my own tears
while he used my fears to fuck me.

I just wanted it to be over. I told him no
but he continued to take me into his office
where no one could see. And he. Fucked. Me.

Why did no one try to save me?

Why do you demand that I have the
strength of a man just because he chose
to rape me? Did you not hear my screams?

Later on, in the hall, he smiled at me
and I knew the call would come again
but I didn’t know when. All I did know

Was that I only wanted it to be over
but it never will be over. The call will come
again and again no one will save me.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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I’m in Love

They wouldn’t believe me if I told them
so I mostly don’t tell them a thing about
how I feel, instead I hold my words close
to my breast, close to my heart.

I’m in love.

And I know you saw that look in my eyes
when we last talked about love and I know you
saw that book on my shelf, the one titled
f**ck love & I know you’ve heard me at night
spilling tears on my pillow over some
love that got lost along the way.

And I know you wouldn’t believe me if
I told you that I am in love, but really I am.
You can trust me. It’s love I’m feeling.

In the morning the sun tickles my back, its
finger draws an invisible line & I relax
my body presses into the body of the stranger
lying in bed beside me. They’re all strangers
And I’m in love. I’m always in love.

I feel you breathing, exhaling, sighing
beside me and I want to know more
about you, but you don’t talk much when
you’re awake.

It’s enough to know you’ll be there
to feel your breath against my neck
to exist in these fragile moments
with you.

And when you whisper my name against
my neck, I know for sure like I’ve never known
before, that yes, I am. I’m in love.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

 

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I Ain’t Sorry For Nothing I Done

I ain’t sorry for
nothing I
done, that’s what
your eyes
tell me
Draw me into
reminiscing
about slow shower
dances, deep belly
laughs, flirty glances,
a blossoming romance
that split me open
to the core
like an apple
exposed                    again
is this love

Love me more
as I love you
forever

Standing under stars
listening to the
sky as it speaks
whispers our names
like a dream
tears like falling stars
being embraced
by the night
the cold makes me
shudder.
Is that sound
echoing through the
night
your heart or mine
beating away the
darkness, the shroud
of loneliness
a life without you

I ain’t sorry for
nothing I
done, your eyes
tell me and I
couldn’t
agree more

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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I Resist

RESIST!

I recently purchased a shirt with one word on it: resist. The shirt has Wonder Woman on the front as well, so when I saw it, I was like yes!!! But I’m a thinker and often reflect on things I’ve said and done and so I asked myself during a moment of reflection, why exactly I had felt compelled to purchase the shirt. What exactly is there for me to resist? And, man, did I open up a can of worms.

As much as I may not like the current president, my “resistance” does little to prevent him from (1) continuing to serve in the capacity of President of the United States, (2)work feverishly to erase all the progress made by the first black president of the U.S. (hmmm, I wonder why), and (3) continue to remain popular among people who blame the “fake news” for his misdeeds. Russia? Fake news. Racist bigot? Fake news. A health care plan that knocks people off health care and places the financial burden on poor people while giving breaks to the rich? Fake news. Besides who needs a break anyway? Certainly not poor people. Because it’s their fault they’re poor, right? Riiiigggghht. But I digress. So, again, what is there to resist? I mean, what really is within my power to change?

White “Christian” males will still decide what I can and cannot do to my body. They can continue to oppress minorities (blacks, Hispanics, and women) and claim that everyone has the same opportunities. Side-eye to those who foolishly believe that the fact that America had a black president is enough to signify that racism no longer exists. See Donald Trump.

Okay, so, again, what can I resist and actually have a real impact on?

I resist the foolishness that says that because more than 90 percent of “poor people” have refrigerators, they’re not “really” poor. I resist the dumbass stereotypes about “poor people” not wanting health insurance because they have iPhones. I resist buying into the negative stereotypes of people of color portrayed on TV. I know all black women aren’t messy women who need a daily drama fix and who have low self-esteem and daddy issues. I also know that not all black men are drug-dealing men who desire nothing more in life than to kill other black men. I resist accepting that a 12-year-old should be shot and killed for playing with a toy gun. I resist accepting that all black people are criminal. I resist the society that accepts that my son should be a target for harassment, following or arresting because he dares to live, dream, walk, speak, drive, shop, or anything else while black. I resist accepting that I can’t be angered by the murder of unarmed black men by thugs with a badge while simultaneously having high regard for police officers who perform their duties with honor and selflessness. I resist the belief that I cannot simultaneously resist racist treatment of people of color in a system that was designed and oppress non-White people while also resisting mistreatment of black females by males. I resist the idea that pro-black automatically means anti-white. I resist society’s insistence that I accept at face value what it believes to be true, thereby invalidating my own feelings and experiences. I resist anything that makes me uncomfortable in my own skin, unhappy in my life or denies me inner peace. I resist labels. I resist settling for less than. I resist society’s idea of how I should live my life.

I resist through my poetry (In fact, I have two resistance poems that will be published in a popular magazine next week. I won’t say which one yet because I haven’t signed the contract yet.). I resist through the stories I tell. I resist through the books I read. I resist through the messages that I pass on to my kids. I resist through the way I interact with people. I resist with love.

I resist. Because I can.

I resist.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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They Always Leave

They always leave, she said
And I had to admit it’s true
That every man I’ve ever loved
One day chose to leave.

“But I ain’t ashamed for nothing
I done,” I said. And I meant it.

Talking this way made me
Think of you. And I thought of
That day when we sat in my backyard.

How later, lying on a blanket I’d stolen
From my mother’s bed, I was able to ignore
The irregular beating of my heart because
It just seemed so clichéd that my heart felt like
It was physically breaking at the same time
That my soul was shattering.

We counted the stars and you described constellations
For me. And somewhere in between we
Wished we could go back to 16. When it would
Seem that we would have forever to
Number the stars in the sky. When it would seem
We’d have forever to keep our love alive.

I counted 45 stars that night. You argued
There were more, but finally you let me
Have my way because it was almost time
To say good-bye.

I sometimes wonder if you already knew
We were saying our final goodbye
That night & maybe that’s why you
Touched my cheek long after you’d wiped away
My tears and maybe it was why you never
Came right out and said those words, good-bye

Just held my hand like it was the first time
Kissed my lips & whispered I love you
Then waited as the words were caught up
In my mouth where I swallowed them & when
I did it felt like a million tiny stars exploding inside
And that was better than any simple good-bye.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Alone in the Night

“My mother would kill me if she got the chance. I would kill my mother if I had the courage.” Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid

What about giving birth
left you wearing envy like
a second skin, too tight to move
around in? Were her cries too
suffocating for you to exist in & so
you been hitting back, fighting
ever since you first held her
in your arms and heard her cry
knowing sometimes you would not
be the one who could stop her tears

Empty insults & closed fists are
not God’s gift and should not have
been yours either. How can you not see
how she cowers underneath the blistering
rays of your hate? Why are you trying to
teach her to hate herself while despising
that very hate? You force her to stand in
your shadow, cowering, crying, trying to hold
herself together and you hate her for always
falling apart.

Will you always teach her to ignore the sun &
force her into the night? As if though you haven’t
always belonged to the night, as if though
you have not spent an eternity trying to part the folds
of night and escape. You know the horror of
being enveloped in dark clouds that descend
like a mist, slowly overtaking you until
there is no you left. Did you just not want to be
left alone in the night? Is that why you chose to
keep her lost in the night? Is that
why?

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Some People

Some people will
argue that you
have never been raped,
will shove their
inconvenient truth
down your throat
like a too-soft cock
that’s unable to get hard.

They will demand proof
that the will to say no
was completely out of your hands
as if though privilege & position
can never be used as weapons

They will demand that you
prove your victimization, the
danger of any –ism is
people see what they want to see

They will pull the leaves off
flowers that are slowly dying
inside, pretending not to see
the delicate petals that are wilting
or the screams that are trapped
but always trying to get out.

Some people will tell you
that unless you’re
laying spread eagle &
somehow find the strength to
unmuffle the scream trapped
in your throat that
you’ve never really been raped,
not really.

As if though every no must be
spoken loudly in order to be heard &
softly-spoken resistance is
another form of desire. And didn’t you
know it all along? No,
this doesn’t feel right becomes
If Only for One Night.

Some people will try to convince you
that being raped is not about power, that it’s
about sex and that your skirts are too short,
your voice is too soft, and you really
wanted it all along. They will tell you
that monsters are only found under beds &
deep inside darkened closets. That you’ll never
find them in an office or even sitting beside you
on your couch.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

 

woman-silenced

Photo courtesty of GettyImages

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The Sidewalk

There’s this woman who sits outside a convenience store I pass sometimes. I first was drawn to her because it was strange for me to see a woman, who could easily be my mother, sitting outside on the ground. Surrounding her are large bags, like the ones we keep our trash in, but inside her bags were all her belongings. I had to stop and do something. I went in the store, bought me a tea and took her some money. The first couple of times that’s all I did was stop and give her money. But I couldn’t get her out of my mind. When I’d drive away from her, I’d sometimes have to stop and cry. Where’s her family, I kept wondering.

Every weekend I go looking for her. And I find her. Now, I talk to her. Sometimes our conversations make sense, other times the things she says seem more like snatches of memory from some time before.  I have called the police and told them I think she needs help. I’ve offered to take her to one of the city’s warming centers (sometimes the temps drop to the low 30s). I’ve written to news stations, suggesting someone go talk to her. I feel sure that someone, somewhere must be missing her. Surely, they must think about her the way I do when I can’t make it to that corner during the week. I worry about her. I’ve been wanting to write a poem that conveys my feelings for her. I haven’t written anything yet that I’m happy with. This might be because I’ve been so busy with my writing group assignments and working on the short stories for my upcoming book. Or it might be that familiar difficulty I have with expressing myself sometimes.

Anyway, this is what I have so far:

Sitting on the sidewalk
beside a stranger, like my mother
I do not recognize her but I know her

We sit there perched like birds, ready to take off
and soar at a minute’s notice. We have only stopped
in mid-flight. Our journey is not over.

I haven’t felt comfortable outside since I was a child.

I’m torn between staying and leaving
but when I do leave I want to make sure she will remember
me, how I tried to love her. I want her to cradle memories

of me like she holds tightly to the garbage bag holding
all her belongings. We are both bag ladies. In my bag
there’s leftover love, in her bag is a change of clothes, a blanket,
a four-leaf clover, a bubble gum wrapper, some things she’s found

she must have family somewhere missing her but when
I ask about them, she says “Sure I have family” and then she
wanders along a path where the language being spoken barely
registers in my ears. Will you remember me when I’m gone, I ask.

Turning to me she says, “They keep the doors locked at night. I can’t
be in a place like that.” My thoughts are like the cars whizzing by
on the street. Music drifts from car windows, somewhere a woman
laughs. Behind us children squeal and yell out.

I haven’t felt comfortable outside since I was a child.

I want to follow the sound of the children’s squeals, but I don’t
want to leave her alone. What will she do when she’s alone?
Where will she go? All doors are locked at night
Sometimes to keep people from getting in, mostly to keep us from
getting out.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Heat

When you got Lauryn Hill on the radio, a pen in your hand and a notebook, this is what happens:

It’s kinda hard to pinpoint
when I first knew
something was wrong. Sometimes I think
it was just the fact that
you were there.

Sometimes I think it was
the mirage-like quality of things,
the way heat seemed to be rising up
out of everything.

The night sky quivered like a woman
being fingered by her lover. The asphalt
street moved in waves, couldn’t seem to stay still
as if pleasure was running through her bones.
When I held out my hands, they moved
without consent from me
as heat rose from my pores. It felt like
I was losing me.

This can’t be real, I remember thinking.

I thought you were transparent, not totally there
or maybe that was just me knowing I’d always been able
to see right through you. But
when I reached out to touch you
I felt your warm skin beneath my fingertips.

This has to be a dream scene.
My feet have never so easily sank in the street
like walking on pillows or a deep feathery mattress,
sank so far I nearly disappeared.

But then you sank down beside me and
I knew this was more than just a dream.
It was reality. And when you touched me, for once,
it didn’t hurt. No pain accompanied your touch.
So I just let it be.
Let you be. With me.

In the back of my mind, the truth cowered
in a corner like a scared child, one who knew
that stars are just lamps in the darkness and the moon
is just a child’s drawing seen through a toy viewer
because anything is possible in a dream.

There are unlimited possibilities in the realm of dreams
but there are many truths too, to be faced
when the morning comes.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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