Dear Shape Shifter 

Your skin slides like silk, spills sweet like wine

Sheets of gold, folded

Your stretch marks merely shadows

Indicating what once was solid

And though you frown at your reflection

Reality knows the truth

That you are only gazing down

At a mirror that kneels before you

So shift your perception

Reclaim your rightful throne

Lift the weeping child from your seat

Begin to feel at home

This body cannot breathe

Unless you reap the tears you’ve sown

Only you have watered this garden

Only you have seen it grow

 

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Flashbacks

You got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy issues you got daddy iss-

The door slammed shut. Or did it gracefully close? Did he close it? Did he slam it? I don’t recall memories and words as well as I do emotions. The past will always exist to me in blurs but I have learned that my emotions are crystal clear and crisp as day. I am an empath, a feeler, a ponderer, an action without words type of girl. So when I say he slammed my great-grandmother’s front door shut as I silently stood at the top of those steps, he may not have actually slammed it. But it felt like he did.

My father is a shadow figure in all of my memories. I don’t recall his face, his voice, or his touch. I don’t recall thinking about him that much. My father was a shadow, even when he was present in my life. It was easy to ignore him, to forget him, but I was quickly reminded of him every time I looked at my reflection. A fusion of two, a collision of pasts, a merging of lives so different they couldn’t last. Was I a product of love or lust? Am I a carefully forged mistake? Or am I merely a reminder of my mother’s fate? I am her mistake, her destiny.

After that door slammed shut, nothing changed. My father remained a shadow and out of herself, my mother created a false oasis for us to reside in…until she found God.

What Keeps Me Alive At 2am 

Her poetry resides in her pain

And what a dangerous place that is to live 

She can only make sense of everything 

When she’s aching from within

Joy brings writers-block

But when she cries, prose flows like tears from her pen

And those wounding words that haunt her mind 

Have now become her very best friends

 
Bitter kisses transform into songs that ascend from the tip of her trembling tongue 

Brutal thoughts leave bruises on her intellect and loneliness leaves scars on her lungs 

Her poetry resides in her pain 

And sadness invites a comforting calm 

Enthralled by her light, a short lived haiku 

No one notices when she’s gone 

With Eager Nails 

I pick apart pieces of me until I fall apart.  

Excavating flaws 

Sleeping in filth 

Wrapped in sheets of shattered guilt

Scabs begging to heal

But with eager nails I pick and peel

Dig and peel

Dig and kneel to worship everything else

Except for myself. 
I pray to gods made of the dirt that I lay in

And I speak their many tongues

I taste and I bite

I chew your words but refuse to swallow your pride
i-i-i-

– selfish me I am always at the beginning of sentences even though I am too busy writing scripts for everyone 
else. 
You broke me before I broke me and 

I wish I did the breaking first because then

I could’ve swallowed the truth in your words. 

But instead, I chewed on them with wrath. 

I spit them out instead and watched them waste away in a deep void of resentment. 

You were once a new wound.

Brand new but you hurt me like a bitch 

And tried to heal too quick

A wound that I was never familiar with, never had closure with. 

So excuse me while I kneel again  

And peel and pick 

With eager nails. 

Untitled 

As I lay here wrapped in the comfort of my sheets

I ask myself:

How is it so easy to forgive everyone else, and why is it such a challenge to forgive myself?

But then I remember that these thoughts themselves…are in essence, the beginning of my release.  

words from the angry black girl 

My voice was a tsunami wave 

Slowly approaching, but when it crashed, it came fast

Furious and ready to drown out the sound of you swimming 

My voice

Has been found and now I must learn to control it. 

This tongue

Is sharp. It will slice the soles of your feet like decaying shells buried beneath the sand. 

But never forget how warm and welcoming this sand felt, before you dug too deep and hurt yourself. 

My saliva is heavily salted with pain from my past

And I admit that I sometimes let it consume me

Sometimes people mistake me for the Black Sea,

shriveling the life out of everything that dives into me. 

and I admit, my words can be deadly

But I promise, I am not deadly. 

Be patient with me. 

I am learning to navigate my waters, 

I have yet to allow you to explore the depths of me. 

Be kind to me. Don’t provoke me. 

Stop trying to sail me with your inexperienced raft-like mind 

because you will need a ship to get out of my head alive so…

Love me. 

at every stage, at the calm before the looming crests of my waves, love me. 

Because this voice 

My voice

Is the only thing that keeps me safe.   

Untitled

That night, India Arie became my therapist.

I searched every lyric for relatability and desperately clung to her soft serenades,

hoping that the warmth of her vocals would allow me to defrost without much pain.

But I found myself crying instead,

as I melted and felt myself becoming malleable again.

Discomfort

Bask in your pain.

Let it seep through your tear-stained sheets and

let your sobs be so deep

and true that your toes curl up

and you clench your teeth.

Face the mirror.

Look at you.

And cry until your eyes are dry.

Not until you dig up the weeds of the past collecting in your spine

will you be able to grow tall

and blossom past the sky.

Nihilism

I feel like dying.

I have always felt a death shroud clouding my thoughts, a mist so powerful that not even the love of my life could make it dissipate

A fog that clings to my lungs like a fish hook, digging into my flesh and pulling apart every bloody ounce of meaning I had left

I feel like dying.

And maybe I’m just trippin, as a black girl should

When everything seems to be crumbling around me, in this internal state of oppression I call my hood

Where suicidal thoughts ring like gunshots

Where my body is a fatherless household lacking God and my daddy

Where my mind and my heart fight a constant turf war

And maybe I’m just trippin, as a woman should

Because my emotions have been carelessly labeled and tossed into this generic idea of black womanhood

Attitude

Bitterness

Anger

Strength

Resilience

Melanin

But nobody wants to talk about how bad you can burn in the sun, no matter how fucking black your skin is

I’m tired of hearing “Girl, you just need some good dick” or “Just pray about it” and “This too shall pass”

No I don’t.  No, I won’t.  And no, it will never pass.

I feel like dying.

Dead ass.

The world is a miserable gray now and everything moves too fast.

I am running and gasping for air

Chasing happiness, love, inner peace

Yet everyone and everything seems to be sprinting further and further away from me

 

But maybe I’m just trippin, like all these black girls be.

 

9 PM

I sat up in bed and closed my eyes, reaching, feeling, clawing for a presence I knew wasn’t there

I didn’t expect it to be there. I knew that I had deserted it, that I had failed

The emptiness shook me so that I could not shed a tear

So I just sat there waiting, emotionless, an empty vessel

And in that moment I knew what I had to do

I opened my mouth, ready to beg and cry, to explain myself and make up another lie

But instead I whispered:

“God…please help me find myself, so that I can find you.”