After RB

Every part of this glorious city

were brooding monuments

rusted over with scathing eyes,

gargoyles chop-licking in

view of my flesh, collapsing

then folding down on me, every block

felt like a razor slit, the heat like a ton pressing

down on top of me, how every beautiful thing:

its faces, its new lips and charming smiles

thoughts about divulging in them

a betrayal, these porticoes and columns,

These brilliant corners web of hand, hill of palm,

Almond of eye, round of nose, dug into me, even

its awesome sunset over Templo Debod

was a pool of agony and now, a wine glass

of radical honesty to flush out the sty

of ego and I’ve taken back me,

Now this city is a vibrant flower

In bloom, a new day after a good rest,

The caress of someone new on my jawline,

It’s a sweet hello, the soft kiss of spring fulfilling its

life waking up around

you is a glorious gift.

A cherry red balloon

to celebrate an end

big and bulbous a window of light

curves around the belly; the golden-oak

luminescence of whiskey

of it the joy in this period

grief insatiable, its neck-

mouth are mine

it juices smoky brown sugar;

tonight, I will reminisce like Icarus

into a bed

of goose down

Stuck in the middle of this perfect

Case with many faces, I hold the light,

I manipulate it to my pleasure, my body

How it glistens and gleams and sparkles

How it lifts the room, a person’s mood,

A person’s confidence, I have become the

Perfect accessory, how they drape me

Over their wrists, I became a fixture

for marriage bonds in a religion

that was forced on me, they found me

In the earth, said to have given me life

Said I had no language no birth rite

They desire and worship my body

Some appropriate my look,

They touch me whenever they get the chance

I don’t desire to be objectified, lightened my skin,

tried to conceal my curves or accentuate

them more to fulfill a fantasy mysterious

imbedded in fear and fetish, they put down

money and like to call me “sold”

I was good, I was raw, I was uncut,

Until they uprooted my whole existence

In value of net-worth, by my color

My weight, my luster, my shine, sold

To the highest bidder, they like to call me

“asset” the way I dance

And entertain at a ball, the way I turn a

Neck into a dancehall, made to shuck-n-jive

For some blue-eyes. Said life would be better,

Cut down to meet the “civilized” expectations,

A thing to be conquered, a frontier, a continent

To be called, “mine” from a people

who had nothing but the color

Of their skin.

Came from that tree was lightning struck

Split right down the middle into two &

After years of trying to find answers in the sky

a father’s mouth can be a beautiful vista that looks

Out over the pacific, it can also be a crater, the release of

those explosions from his magma chamber in defense

It will drive you to bitterness and even to the point of hate,

Hate for self, bared from seeing self-worth due to the fallout.

And a mother’s hands can be honey and dusk-light, they can also be

A labyrinth of thorns and emotional pitfalls that will keep you

Spinning for years not knowing if you can fully be you.

A family is defined by its cycles:

What’s kept, what’s discarded, and how it healed

(or hasn’t).

After Nujabes

You flowerI held you in this vase of house-finch eggs

I started to build around you splinter, blood, silence, wasn’t enough

You rainbow mausoleum now, down with sledge

hammer the marble that was set, pools of

rain water record the work of dismantling

memories I’ve only began breaking surface;

you phoned and it was all

too raw; You river my eternal

reflective, the prism of a stream slow

sap echoing through space

A light is lit

On old cobblestone street, the gas

Shushes, I stand there, the amber of,

I am drawn, I am unraveled, loafer heels sucks it’s teeth—

“that’s not real flame,

its only your thoughts, and that feeling

from the glow is bullshit, and don’t be unraveled or

drawn to something that can burn you,

what you should do is replace your fire with hers,

Yours isn’t as important”—alone again, amberish-red

Flame flickers as my heart murmurs an irregular bap,

A strange bip, I climb the body of

the street lamp like an arachnid feverish,

I press my forehead to the hot glass, rolling

side to side.

Mother’s Day mug takes up

so much space liquid takes on

the shape its container not by

son’s choice, the husbandry of

unhealed trauma, how he judges

his own life

Rainy night drizzle

empty sidewalk, wet

fully bloomed pink poui tree, cups of

pink flowers at the ends of branch fingers 

street light it’s side makes few flowers orange-pink

shy a yard away—the lamp and this trunk a concert of

branches coiling slow, tungsten wavelengths

sparkles the black army-green scales of

this long-tail boa of anxiety pops out a new cup, a tremble

and churn she; a brief moment, when

breath becomes silence, heart stills, in the dark

between branch and flower, a shot of yellow

eye pauses

Will he? Will he only want me for?

His past? He lashed out at me, is he lighting-gas?

Before, he; will he again? But what if?

The choke of IF.

After Bobby Caldwell

The empty train of it

And the bare and clean of it

The silence of it

The short rides of it

Every lover was a country

a city, a town,

now

hollow I can see, every car to a dot

The eternal journey of it &

the many unavailables

Through the windows the palette this earth offers

You can only see out, but a faint reflection of self

What you won’t do for it…

You turn and a presence, who looks identical

a faint smirk and wave no one else on the train

That cold ice spider climbs up the rungs of

Every vertebrate on your spine, first reaction—run

But you sit there as he slowly approaches you

…but stop

Fine moss, juicy ferns

Fresh wood, dew coats each green

Thing, each living thing with moisture

Nostrils hold this earth like worlds stuck

Onto its follicles, hexagonal, but round

In another season, this same fertile, juicy,

The harmony of, the wholeness of

Earth, has become yellow, sharp, brittle

Something lost or stripped away, a bad season

A sudden single curious flame, carried over from

A past fire, this

not able to hold moisture in, it doesn’t stick, but what does-

The brilliant glow of desperation and

vulnerable spaces for love and acceptance

Seen above it all like the 405 freeway

Diverting paths, the heat is felt even inside the shell.