How I Know

When I stop
counting
that’s when I
know

Three years we spent together falling in love with love
twenty-three times squared the number of times marriage was discussed
four missed opportunities from before we ever met
twelve late night talks while we cuddled, dreaming with our eyes open
one thousand times we made love

Then
one day I
stopped counting

And I watched you
walk away

So I began
to
number the space
between us

Two days with no call from you
two weeks before your face faded into memory
six hundred thousand seconds tasting bitter loneliness
twenty-six months of trying to grasp what was fleeting
one lifetime spent wishing things could be different

But I’ve stopped
counting
and that’s
how I know

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Emergency Room

Late night shift with a patient struggling
to breathe. Fighting death, she twisted & writhed
on the bed. Watching her battle, I thought of

You. And how breathing is so much like loving.

Death just sneaks up on you and confuses like
a love that poisons the blood. How can you ever

Learn to breathe artificial oxygen that is killing you?

Sometimes I wake at night to find the bed covers twisted
around me and the space beside me empty. Still.

I watched her fight end. Finally. The emptiness that moved into
her eyes and wanted to shatter the mirror before me.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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The Most Beautiful Lie

The most beautiful lie
is the one that
never feels like a lie

Sometimes there are no words
to replace what’s been lost as a
beautiful lie exposed becomes truth

But the beauty of the lie
makes it impossible to regret;
every smile every sigh every exhale

Belongs in the world of the beautiful lie
without shame without denial where

Words once were poetry and smiles were
1980s love songs; how easy it was to get lost
how easy it was to not be found

Out. That’s the beauty of a lie that doesn’t
feel like it at the time. You can look back
on it without sorrow because

The most beautiful lie
is one that
never feels like a lie.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Pray

We thought we’d finally
found love. Our delusions
made us easy prey. Pray
that when this is all over we
will still believe. We
will still long to feel love
in our bones, love with no
coverups. Naked.
The kind of love that
doesn’t strike out at you
like a copperhead snake,
leaving you thinking you’re
dying inside when you’re only
living. Prey.
Pray.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

P.S. Happy National Poetry Month!

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A New Birth

The miracle of
birth. Watching love give birth to
hate. Breathtaking lies.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Happy National Poetry Month, Day 15

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Scars

Less than 24 hours ago, two sisters were killed by the husband of one of the women. Two days before that, a school teacher and one of her students was killed by her husband. A day before that another woman was killed by her ex-husband. Twenty-four hours ago, a man’s body was found in the street. His wife or girlfriend was arrested. Twenty people per minute are reportedly (reported) abused by an intimate partner. Why? Why? Why?

 

I cannot decipher messages in the clouds but
I am learning to interpret the meanings relayed
through scars. A story for every scar even the
ones covering the heart. The ones you think
no one can see because like a masterful artist
you’ve learned to hide the ones covering your body.

I hear you telling the untold stories whenever we
are together. The words deftly concealed in every
sigh, in every tear you manage to keep from crying,
in every effort you make to hide behind a façade of
plastic smiles.

Who told you that love was supposed to
leave scars on the heart? Or just scars?

Who told you that love wasn’t supposed to be
easy?

Is there some riddle that must be unraveled, an
equation to be solved to explain why women
are being murdered as such an exasperating rate?

We, like fallen soldiers, perishing in a war, a search
to find love. Trying to piece together broken hearts with
tears. Holding on to broken pieces that, like glass, hurt us
until we can’t help crying.

Who told you that discarding piece of yourself to accommodate
someone else was love? Who told you that to compromise in
love means to fill up the empty parts of yourself with
someone else?

I speak many languages, but mostly the language of love.
I will hold you here until the bruises are gone. I will hold you
here until you know that it isn’t love that hurts, it’s the absence
of love that’s staring you in your face becoming more and more
angry because you want to walk away.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

P.S. Love doesn’t hurt. Don’t believe the hype. When you are truly loved, you are valued and you will never have to question whether you are loved. If someone is hurting you, leave. You can get over a heartbreak, but your family will never get over losing you if you are killed by someone who claimed to love you and you knew all along that it was never love. Love yourself first.

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Whispered Memories

I hear you whisper memories in my ear
like death you will not go away. I press
the pause button continuously but still
your words vibrate in my ear, a nonstop loop
of promises you never could keep. Poetry is not
an apology. Love is not obligation. And illusions
can never be real.  But imaginings can continue to live
even as your words are lost to me like gilded
dreams caught up in a springtime wind storm.

Have you ever witnessed the moon kissing the sea?
Have you ever once wished you knew how to read my
poetry?  Have you ever wanted to catch a falling star
with your bare hands? Have you ever tried to unravel
the mystery of love? Have you ever shivered from only
the memory of love’s first kiss or a first love?

I imagine your words dancing in the wind like fallen
leaves and I wish I could remember the melody so
that I could dance along too. And there will be times when I remember
the steps of the dance but I will choose to free fall in the dried leaves of
words that long ago lost their true meaning.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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The Flat Tire

Sometimes a black bodied woman is just a woman
no menace no slut no thug no whore no bitch but
a poet who wrestles with a world that seeks to define her
using the words she so values and where does that
leave her but alone and ashamed too embarrassed to
admit that words have power like a double-edged sword
and you’re damn near killing her with your words

This morning I had the clever idea that I would dress
in a way to fight off all of your offensive words I
looked in the mirror and plastered on my fake smile
with my makeup practiced responding to unwanted
attention with soft and feminine responses so I wouldn’t
be called a bitch for simply resting my face while I
revel in my own thoughts then I had to figure out what to
wear and I couldn’t decide between my university sweatshirt
or the work hoodie with the name of the school where I work
and a skirt the long one that doesn’t show my knees or the
dress I wear to church or my camo jeans with the loop
for my hunting knife the one I bought for protection
against men who cannot be satiated with a fake smile and
nod hello or my backpack the one that’s heavy with books
I’ve already read or a tank top wanting to dress for the
weather but I looked at my arms and tried to figure if they
were too muscular or too flabby dressing for this world
is tiring so I figured the best thing to do: wear it all

But then my car got a flat and I was stuck by the side of the
road and I realized I forgot to put on the voice that makes me sound
white when I’m talking on the phone and getting down on my
knees to change my own tire makes me look like even less of a
woman than you imagine me being and tomorrow my arms will
be sore because those nuts are tightened  so that only a man
can undo them because any woman who knows how to carry
herself and how to submit to a man can find her a man and if
you don’t have one well it’s your own fault and sometimes
you just have to understand that a man will be a man and don’t
call him out when he treats you bad because then you’ll make
him look bad not feel bad and there’s a difference but
none of that explains why you left me by the side of the road
with a flat tire and a broken stud with the nut still locked on or
why you didn’t realize that sometimes a black woman is just
a woman and sometimes a woman is just walking down to the
end of the block to get the name of the street so she knows
the exact intersection of the place where she finally lost and
found herself and where she realized that no amount of clothes
can get you to see she’s not who you want her to be

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

Happy second day of poetry month loves! And good news: two of my poems are in the spring edition of African Voices magazine. Here’s a link to the magazine here.  Check it out. The spring issue is full of dynamic poetry and stories and art.

Happy reading!

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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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