If you could talk to one person from the past/present for one hour, who would it be?
I would take just one hour with you, Dad.
and memorize your knuckles
and count the pace between your jokes
look at the stance of your earlobes
allow the electricity to race through my veins as we touch hands
and allow my eyes to connect your pores that capture your
favorite after shave
attach the scent of your breath
have you explain.
ask you the really tough questions
in this softly short period of time
tell you why I chose this place. next to this tree. I love silver dollar trees.
answer more. give me more detail. this is when you’ll see yourself. and know I am so much of your explosive hustle.
and then I’d let you see me cry for the first time ever. for two straight minutes. until your eyes that are mine meet again.
“abandon finesse & sweat
revolt paying double for life
or occupying corners like unwanted dining room tables
I forgave my ancestors for not defending the shoreline
and I occupy their transgressions consciously
and I know the tears of disclosure from the Creator
so I sit beside you all night and won’t speak
in fear you’ll find me out
or laugh at the songs that escape my vagina and armpits
but I do love you.
There’s something intensely intimate about cooking a meal for a man
then having him hold your hand across the table and say / grace.
In between the “I love you’s”
this is how we reconnect:
I straddle and clutch on to him
for my dear life and he /
recharges himself inside of me with all I have to offer / then
me and my man we go out and change
from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips
“Black Privilege is having to have the same sense of humor as Jesus, remember how he smiled on the cross? Black Privilege is a joke, a myth, a punchline…”
Saturday afternoon truth
told by thick brown hands,
stories of survival and struggle until both
sound like all the names of the black mamas in the neighborhood
Hymns and laughter
imparted in between sections of greased scalps
that smell like coconut or yesterday’s frying oil
Here, little girls get to disappear
feel their mother’s heart beat
as her fingertips massage away her little girl worries
not turning the jump rope fast enough
getting picked last during recess for dodge ball
on the floor between her mother’s legs
the little girl’s father appears in a new light
fresh and foul
like discounted gizzards
she learns why to save
why the pulled out back seat of her grandfather’s Cadillac is a
treasure in the garage
safe Saturday rituals become
sanctified Sunday religion
and all this from sitting in between her mother’s legs
getting her hair
She’s heard more eulogies than poetry so I wrote this for her.
Amidst the sips of licorice tea, I asked her
“what would she do differently.”
She replied she’d “love as fearlessly as she fought
take more time,
soak the greens instead of rinse ’em”
research his heart as she did antiquity.
She truly believed that for years she had a melody
but never a song
“conquer your souls duality” she told me
the world is depending on you to love
Nikki Skies, ©2007 Published in anthology of “His Rib: Stories Poems & Essays by HER” by Penmanship Publishing Group
on the wall
sounds of hymns in the hall
dreams of heaven
fears of withdrawal
from praising his name
exhalted her a fighter to be acknowledged outside
defending on the forefront
braven with armor
she told a white man he was going to hell due to the lack of his belief
he said, ‘and you’ll be next to me / your crime, fear and ignorance. you were given your God during slavery.’
I did not defend her.
I let her fall / scream
held her hand / tearfully & prayerfully, hoped she’d
from the poetry book, yardwork