I kinda take pride at my sense of direction.
Something about knowing my way around
And not getting lost gives me a sliver of security
That compensates for the lack of direction
Pops failed to dial into my yearning young mind.
I think it’s because as a kid, I’d stay awake during car rides,
Paying attention to each landmark, fascinated
Not for the fact that it was a new site,
But more-so for the progress I felt was made
For recognizing it,
Becoming familiar with street names
And singing fluently the roads’ languages and dialects
Until being behind the wheel was my long awaited concerto.
Signs, I paid attention to the most -
"No turn on red."
"Best fried chicken in town."
These were the liner notes to get me to wherever I wanted,
At whatever mood I found myself slipping into at the time.
Which then became a useful habit -
Pay attention to the signs, the ones guiding you home,
The advice that leads you to your destination.
The directions to your ideal state of being somewhere.
When I met her, intrigue did donuts in my mind’s blacktop,
Carving infinity shaped tire marks and screeching attention into me
Trying to tell me something.
I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time,
But the signs kept coming.
The next time her presence was felt, I was drawn to her gravity
Fell an inch closer to something,
Pulled in a downward direction that had me wondering,
"Does this sign mean go?"
Trusting my instincts and some familiarly dull ache beneath
These weathered ribs,
I forged on, knowing that the destination was getting more rewarding
With each lingering glance that melted into a glass full of longing gazes.
"Read on, keep going," is what I’d tell myself.
When I took notice at the constellation in her eyes,
I read it carefully,
Mapping the exact route it took one look to rest in the comfort of her iris.
When the lightning in her hello revealed itself
As a celestial body stealing into the skin of her smile,
I kept reading.
Because as worthwhile any destination can be when we’re longing,
Trust that the route I was taking had me going the long way home,
Just so I could be alone with my thoughts of her longer.
It started to not matter anymore that I could have gotten lost
In the wayward streets and pavement lined in heartaches before.
Because this route I kept taking
I caught myself at the cross-streets of
'Something about her'
'Everything about her'.
Making a right into Everything,
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself on a short route to home -
Streets paved in every ingrained and unyielding thought of her,
Colored in my favorite shade of her touch,
Decorated in the warmth of her amazing,
Housing the love I knew I had for her all along.
See when love lands, it makes a home out of you.
Resting on a foundation of logic and magic,
Spread out on the property that was once scorched earth,
Welcoming all good coming your way.
She’ll keep giving you directions to the different forms of it,
Pay attention always.
So I keep reading,
Keep traveling to every manifestation of what loving her could be,
To a place where there’s no ‘until’ written on any sign anywhere,
No trace of ink blemishing it with the words of a work that’s ever finished.
When love is the destination,
I just memorize all the landmarks to timeless
And let the journey fill in the rest for us……..
A published thought.
Passion sure does have great penmanship.
More like the fervor glided itself into existence,
With enough weighted dedication to
Engrave a new story into this year past.
I’ll be new dawn, dripping in the last of twilight’s afterglow.
Give me tomorrow with the solar lips,
Drinking her sunshine from full glasses condensed by the cool light.
See when words are all you have left,
I’m penning escape plans out of corners
And weaving stories into security blankets
That reek of a father’s absence,
A guarded heart, and a future full of fulfilled dreams.
When the right thing knocks down the sentries
On watch beneath this stained glass chest,
I’m reminded of when things were better and worse
All within one breath of a memory.
When two of the worst weeks in my life
Swore me to promise that motel stays should never last that long,
But when you’re 18 and homeless
Embarrassment from such gets tucked beneath sheets
That cried out enough years for grown folks to take notice.
It’s a reminder of how something so good needs to be treated
Like it’s the last thing of its existence.
See when these words were all I had left,
I flipped my story into success one paragraph at a time.
These stanzas and lines bare the traces my handwriting bled.
And now, if the suture in front of me is meant to heal,
Then the prayer I spoke into blank spaces begging for my pen’s kiss
Will have been answered.
She with the solar lips and the stride of a dream chaser,
I, with the soul begging for some sunshine
And soles worn well into the path that lead me to what I want.
She with a gaze that tastes like new nebula and a mind that tamed a universe,
I, moved by the curiosity of just how I’m drawn by her gravity.
I’m as much push as she is pull,
Moving towards obvious
Until we crash into the chemistry that dropped hints
On just how each line of this poem
Bares a striking resemblance to late night smiles that bled
Into early morning grateful.
Penning a new story at this point just makes so much sense.
So on I chase, on I write,
Because these words will be what I have left for her
When I whisper promises into her collarbone and
Slowly drag the calligraphy of my best intentions across her bare draft.
I’ll be an author forever if she keeps reading……..
Tuck razor blades of emotion beneath your chest.
Save them and break the glass for emergencies
Like when we need reminders of short breath, chest heave,
Enduring break-ups, premature make-ups,
Short comings, excruciatingly long goings,
Exquisitely unbearable last kisses,
Throbbing embarrassments, short memories for good things,
Deep and enduring memories for the bad;
For every knot twist and lumped throat your heart’s felt,
Every lasting last of anything.
Every brief nothing of joyful.
Because you should know your pain,
And let its menagerie of stained glass light
Wash you in its unique color.
For what is life’s true spectrum,
Without every shade of melancholy,
Every hue of humanity,
Every complexion of delight and satisfaction?
If not for your sadness,
Then imagine how much you wouldn’t miss
Any normal bliss that awaits you
On the other end……..
Her smile is a melody that I’d teach my heart to sing.
And no matter how silent its beats have become lately,
A revival is in order through a song that credits each curl of her lips
Within all of the liner notes.
Sing a joyful tune and I promise to record the vibrato of each butterfly’s flutter within my stomach,
And release it into the air in the form of the wind whispering how much I want her.
It’s funny how I can see tomorrow behind her eyelids.
It’s as if her soul clutched my forever the way faithful fingers
Hold on to their lover’s deepest promise.
If I could holler magnificent into existence,
She would get caught in the air and sprinkle hallelujah
Over my open field soul - let that beauty be fruitful.
I want to be her night sky,
Endless and shining light on each imperfection
Like a starlit forgiveness.
On nights that lack special the way regrets miss closure,
I reach for the nearest memory of her
And paint it across my ceiling until the last color my eyes see before sleep
Is the best hue of her presence.
See we all taste freedom differently.
I choose to savor mine in the flavor of her smile.
We embrace truth in varying lengths.
I choose to hold on to her a minute past a lifetime……..
At the end of the day I’d want to crave her
The way a sun suspended in space
Always finds a way to embrace an earthly horizon
Its been staring at for the whole day.
Because two good lips that kiss open space good morning
Come in the same body I’d like to bid a good night to;
Tightly would be the pursed lips that are about to burst
And reveal the secrets to her natural mystic.
But she practices self control as much as anything I’d wonder about.
Thinking to myself how she,
Whose beauty is brazen and gorgeous is fearless,
Balances such an act on scales used to the weight of her insecurities.
I’m blatant in my thoughts the way I’d want to dip her in them.
Dead the passive aggressive and bypass the splash of hints
For an ocean of ‘I’ve been diggin’ you.’
My head’s swimming, heart drowning in possibility,
Up to the point where her reciprocation reminds my everything
To just breathe……..
I whispered a prayer down her spine.
Spoke my future into her skin,
Read how our story would unfold across her gentle contour
With the the vision in my fingertips.
Because I know I’ll end up loving her too much.
Even if we’re still an ellipsis that’s about as almost
As the space between her barely parted lips
Whenever we get close enough to want
One of us to ditch inhibitions,
I just bare a certainty.
Similar to the way she seems to want to
Bare her soul to the risk of something
Worth every future measure of time.
Sand’s grains will caress the glass,
Seconds will slip into the comfort of oblivion,
And calendars will wilt under the submission
Of a clock’s firm hands.
But I know that in the end,
It’ll still feel like the first time……..
Right where the present and the most maddening longing for the past meets,
You’ll hear the faint sound of Miss Holiday’s sadness.
Billie’s blues melting with the shades of mine to pour into my ears
And drench this weary mind in a serenade that gives me the best comfort these days.
But see it’s these days that are peppered with replicas of smiles
And salted with the same stuff that’s laid in my cuts for far too long.
These days that drag slow like Pops’ cigarette whenever he stressed over everything,
And dragged slow like my own soul across the living room floor of what a home used to be.
See back in the back then, there was the opposite.
Pockets full of promises were the currency I used to buy my way into happiness,
I broke the bank for those that I loved.
But when the value of my promise lost out to the rising trend of it being broken,
The only fair exchange that I could have left with was emptying my pockets
And getting used to nothing in return.
Nothing would ever return.
No promise of what once was would ever return.
Just like Pops’ presence.
And even though he left wishing to pay full penance,
The sentence that he served left me with the hollow independence of filling his shoes.
20 years old, young dude.
Who breathed life and exhaled confidence.
Saved the butterflies in my stomach for days that flowers for Mom
Needed accompanying beauty,
And the flap of a monarch’s wings bled the shades of what I was scared to face.
Like what am I supposed to do with these new shoes that I can’t even fit yet
And how can I follow in Pop’s footsteps when the laces laced barely secure my future,
Let alone any semblance of forward progress with this awkward gait.
Terrified that the full story I’ll tell only depletes the currency in my wishing well to get better.
See it was around this time I took my writing serious.
Screamed bloody murder into the ink and let it trickle into my next opus.
And though hopeless it can sometimes seem, the comfort of the blank screen,
Or whatever else my fire tongue laid flame to,
Scorched memories into permanence.
I learned that the frustration Mom’s showed can double as the letters I use
To try and constantly re-write what situation we’re right now.
Mom I’m sorry.
Though the hollow words echo the fact that I’m apologizing on behalf of my fatherless wisdom.
And I’m writing on behalf of trying to figure out just what it is I need to navigate us through.
I’d love for it to be okay.
And I’d love for love to seem okay.
And I’d love for the chance to erase the thieves’ fingerprints left on my heart,
And love the way I used to when it barely knew how to beat it into existence.
I guess a mother who knew how to spell it
Yet still can’t stomach the syllables to say it,
Can mess with a dude a little.
I found out the hard way how real things get,
When you’re left alone with a blank expanse
As it begs for me to pull the trigger and solve its dilemma of emptiness;
By spilling the ink and secrets running through these veins.
I’ve killed myself countless times over these poems.
Attempted to murder some memories that stick to my ribs
And cling to my eyelids to remind me that sleeping is no better than being awake,
So having to face whatever I’ve got going on
Is the only way I can make nightmares go away.
Though as much as I want to dream my problems into submission,
And ease the thoughts into ink blots and keystrokes,
There’s no better conclusion than speaking prayers into humble ears,
And having a conversation with the few who show their bravery in their care,
And being brave enough myself to admit
That though this chest is San Quentin,
And my mind is Rikers,
I can pardon my own sins by setting whatever’s inside free.
Speak my hurt into freedom.
Enough bleeding of this wound,
It needs healing……..
Well darling you’ve spoiled it for the rest.
Clavicle dreams and mischievous schemes
Like when we’d sneak away for the day
And rendezvous on the horizon that blurrs
The line between your light
And the sea salt kisses that only quench
Your want after a few tries of them.
I’d buried secrets within your bones and
Treasured their whereabouts just as much as their content.
You whispering their exact location into my ear
Gave me that certain tickle that
Causes shoulders to twitch upwards
As if puppet strings were attached to them
From your lips.
And if joy was equipped to share itself with me today
In its arsenal would be the part where you
Impart the wisdom of your heart to teach
How the way we move with synchronicity
Is a form of art.
You’ve got a brush stroke smile
And I an acrylic soul.
The canvas we’re creating on is just whatever.
I couldn’t even explain it.
Art’s up for interpretation and as far as I’m concerned,
What I feel for you is an impressionist expressing their self
In a romantic era where masterpieces were determined
Once the artist died.
So I guarantee that if I were long gone from this existence,
The value of us will only get better in time……..
I listen to you like your whispers tasted like ‘right here’
And hold you like your skin was sweating impatience.
Eyes locked, what’s once dry, now not,
I spill honesty on your canvas and paint a scene
Showing how much I’ve missed you.
Tension, split into, I mold into one what moments before was two.
Collarbones and chins
Show how they can connect, too.
Just know, I’d let you.
I can rush into conclusions but wouldn’t want to confuse
The rules of engagement with games
Of passive aggressive.
Permissive I’d rather be, lather me in your reality.
I’d have to be suffering from a malady of wanting you
Oh so madly.
Timid hearts now beat like sunshine in June.
I’d love to drink your life’s memory and
Quench my curiosity for you.
Blend me into the thoughts that brew in your head,
As you try and figure out if your whispers
Laced my ears in ‘right here’
And if your skin sweat as much impatience as mine.
This dance of indecision,
Trance of what we both want given,
Can sometimes be enough to bide the time……..
One county, two and a half gallons of unleaded, 84 miles, and the empty space where promises and apologies were supposed to be,
Were what separated us both.
I tried to shorten that distance by wrangling the stars at night and speaking them into phone lines,
Just so you could see that how much they missed kissing the universe still wasn’t as much as I missed you.
But somehow you missed the point and I missed what we once were
And the point of stars being suspended in the night sky are to help light paths when the way gets dark.
We ultimately got lost.
I saw a pedestal the other day.
Simple, every day columns that glorified the mundane existence of house plants and crystal.
And it reminded me that the necessity of trying to put something somewhere
For the sake of saving space,
Is the same principle that made you put us on one
Knowing in the back of your mind, you’d never have room for us in the end.
And it didn’t matter that we came to, were in, or arrived at it,
Because the point was that that end became ours and the roads we took to it
Looked awfully a lot like the 84 miles and empty promises that kept us separated.
Time flies and memories crawl.
The direction either one travels are never the same.
We can pardon ourselves for being stuck at some point,
But how much can I forgive myself
For carrying the load that weighs down my memories’ crawl into a halt?……..
Summer Soft, Spring Kissed
Summer soft, Spring kissed love.
Hints of Fall and Winter dripping down her smile.
"I’d have you year ‘round."
Is what I told her.
Generous with my compliments
Like oceans massaging foam
Into each crevice of the sand’s grains.
I, heavily affectionate like that.
Her, heavenly sent with the scent of
God’s favorite galaxy
Living in her collarbones.
Her tongue was Da Vinci.
And I hung every one of our kisses in a frame.
Masterpiece would be appropriate.
Syllables would try and procreate,
But the birth of my words could never
Grow into the best way to describe
My want for her.
This was Summer soft, Spring kissed love.
And we, lazy upon each other,
Letting morning drop anchor
Until her chin melted into my neck
Like foam to sand.
Any level of tide I’d welcome
To harbor this woman’s touch.
Any level of her,
I’ve already spoiled myself much……..
You’re a tough one, skin thicker than most.
Probably because you’ve lost something that matters
One too many times.
Determined not to let another get out,
As much as you’d rather not let the pain in.
Now thinking that what’s left inside,
Though not especially special to others,
Is the sweetest of sweet that is misunderstood by them……..
I think I’ve been struck with the notion that calendars were of no use to me.
Because whether it’s February, April or the very first anniversary
That I know I’d want to have with you,
The urgency I currently nurture into a fervor is my desire
To get to know you better on an on-going basis.
We can steal as many glances as we want,
Until I get a little excited and decide to borrow one instead.
Because it will get returned.
Eyes locked like the lips of those saying goodbye,
Yet have ‘hello’ already chambered in their throat eager to welcome
Them back with the same kiss.
I want you, miss.
As politely and as pushy one can be, mixed into one desire
To balance both on the tip of my tongue
Like the high-wire act of wearing my heart on my sleeve is.
See I’ve caught a glimpse of loving you
And the view was as glorious as first glance,
Yet hard to fully judge like your first impression.
Now pardon the audacity of what I want my future to look like,
But the confidence of me wanting a good woman,
Is far different from the arrogance of me ever thinking I deserve you.
I am a firm believer that if you have a desire, let it be true.
Because sometimes that truth will have you
Tracing my last steps with you on Google Maps,
Trying to relive our most recent moments in an effort to
Prove that this isn’t the thirst that’s triggering things.
And that memory that gravitates to my mind
Hopes to catch your orbit sometime.
Because if you do remember,
Then the battle of winning you over is half won.
With the other half setting up shop in the spot
That your ripe smile occupies,
Waiting for the grasp of my bravery to pick it
As my favorite fruitage of effort and action.
You gave me me an impression that’s stood to be long-lasting
And is now halfway to indelible……..
Basic fundamentals of its craft state that a true marksman
Pays attention to the detail of their camouflage.
One day she was dressed in passive.
The following day, disguised in aggressive.
And for the next few weeks,
Cloaked herself in a manner that made it look like
She genuinely had an interest.
Know your enemy, they say.
So one question lead to another,
And my favorite colors lead to my proudest moments
And what I craved for at the moment
Contributed to her reconnaissance as much as
My favorite song gave away the exact location
To my vantage point.
I saw as much as she wanted me to see.
But by the time I realized that the walls I let down some
Were in direct line of sight to the crosshairs
She had painted across my chest,
The ruckus caused by the ricochet of bullet
Within my innermost was almost as big a mess
As the exit wound at the bottom of my ribcage.
I tiptoed the line between novelty subject
And the feeling the shiny new toy gets
When “shiny” and “new” leave a child’s vocabulary.
Line of sight clear as the skies we pray to,
Hoping for love to shoot us straight through
The broad side of our logic.
Shot and wounded can be synonymous.
Just like victim and target……..