It landed on the kitchen table next to the watermelon. Like a Sunday newspaper on Thursday. Set aside for recycling. Or an abandoned spoon after dessert. It sat there foreign but familiar. Like an African American in America.
The carousel sang loudly. Drowned out the relief of parental duties. Playful screams resonated the atmosphere. Cotton candy decorated white faces pink and blue. Mustard stains on white t-shirts. Scraped knees caused by unattended shoelaces. The day was glee and the night carefree, as flying gravel spun under running feet.
Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s. She watered the ground with chocolate auburn. The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets. She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit. He kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words. His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head. The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors. He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time. He told them not to be afraid.
The first season spread the hours like a bridge. He supplied water to dry, fallen branches daily. Believers of the unseen. She carried unicorns in her pockets. They wore audacious yellows and greens in a black and white world. Demanded freedom like 8 a.m. school bells. Unbalanced as thick as unjust. At night she placed sweet onions on his eyelids. He remained rooted. His tongue poignant from the aroma.
Dog’s were death’s best friend. Hydrants absent from fires. Hoses present at protests. Tilted buses full of spiritual songs. Northern boys with fresh fists. Southern boys with patched will. Northern girls with golden intuition. Southern girls with ancient maps. Laughter extinct. Spit like rain. Freedom rides. Spirits flew. Red summer. Blue years. Freedom wide. Hatred tall. Black bodies hung/ burned/ mutilated. Daylight tardy.
Soprano saxophone accompanied her screams. Vibrato in her hands. His head in her lap. His eyes meeting her’s was the prize. “Sit me up, turn me loose.” Abandoned from forever. She sat him up. Erect as pillars. Baroque rocked. Down. She sipped tea in China.
Scores for his name. His verses rhymed her forward. Her passion sweet as fruit. Seasoned. Made days wet cement. For imprints. Slops. Hills. Concrete with purpose. His remembrances sleep at our feet.
a prose from the book,
“When does laughing at my name become part of the curriculum?… my name is not yours to edit.”
Get your copy of my new collection of poetry/prose, yardwork, today.
You call me angry
But you, have a million ways to hate me
So this isn’t anger / this is my confused face.
these lines on my forehead are
glass ceilings / eulogies / sexism and sermons
these lines are 400 year old collection notices
these lines are me not wanting to compete for every corner of my existence
this isn’t anger.
this is proper placement privilege
this is / been here done that and steady grinding
this is you mistaking me swallowing whole fruit for breasts
this is my lipstick protecting my smile when I kiss the moon at night
it’s not magical all days
sometimes I can’t abracadabra away feeling… “other”
sometimes it’s real survival tactics needed
these lines remind me where I hid bail money
where I’m safe to unbraid my fears and wash my past
this is an emotion you can’t repeat
cause you damn sure duplicate everything else about me
but this isn’t anger.
this is for my pushed back knuckles from
fighting traffic, hunting for low gas prices, scrimmaging through too ripe produce in my local grocery store, you know / regular stuff
this isn’t anger
this is me demanding you stop displaying to the world there are exceptions to me being human
being woman / being protected / be-ing loving / be-ing loved.
this is I don’t want the crime solved 30 years from now when the killer is probably in my breathing space
I’m not supposed to be offended when you call me angry?
But you, -have a million ways to hate me
this isn’t anger.
this is my stay ready face. – by Nikki Skies for “Rebel Yell” on BET.com
When warriors / raise daughters
We don’t pass her a Baton / tell her to run /
We pass her a Machete / tell her to grip it / firm and steady/
let it be an extension / of your hand / plant your feet / bend your knees /
if you raise your arm / do not speak /with eyes at your feet
/ spot neck in your periphery / with strength and precision/ cut long, hard and deep
This is your life / live it / defend it
/ whatever comes for you / be ready