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.
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
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
She said all it would take is $10
to sense the spirits around me
and read my future.
But I tried to tell her it wasn’t me I was worried about
my prayers are blown to the
sunset gray ridden waves
that have washed my wishes and haunts
my prayers are for the
street prophets freestylin’
thinking they showed me love and let me slide
ignorant to the active place of genocide
in his backyard and her bosom.
I pray for abandoned children with two parents
I pray so long sometimes I fall asleep
and dream of the ancestors
I dream of heaven
I pray for women with deep
that only her missing child can scratch.
I pray poets with purpose
plant potent seeds for
progression with poise
I pray the baroque docks
so other poets can simply stop.
I pray this teaches those that know
that they don’t
so we can hold each other.
The incense hypnotized the seconds
as she checked her clock
she ended up
giving me $20.
- nikki skies, from the book, “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”
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,
Autographed copies available here
Amiri Imamu Baraka
Poet Laureate, Playwright, Speaker, Activist
My words come like a muffled organ /cornered
in a country side church.
I pray one reaches you clear
flattened forever between verses of the New Testament.
henna tatoos decorate the stretch marks
across her chest
from loving many ways.
and they like ’em like that
scratchin’ hipbones with no itch
they like ’em searchin’
glossy lipped and eyed
Nike “just do it” wearin’
county children raisin’
they like ’em like that.
nikki skies from the book “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”