gathering (a poem for my father.)

I walked a mile for a red cent and some hope.

Amid the conflicting images-

snatches of boyhood

and finding your letters at the bottom of garbage heaps

– i tried to gather some love for you.

You, who I don’t know.

Who I mirror

Who’s violence I remind them of.

I think wellness is in your shed.

Part of it, at least, can be found

in that coming together

and finding of tools- pink and blue.

And I remember being happy

on a couch, you and I


my head on your chest.

“For My Mother” and “For My Grandfather”


Looking through older work isn’t bad. Its actually a dope excercise in writing because you see where you have been- what you have evolved from, left behind, or transformed through. Here are two of my older poems that I found in a book this afternoon.

For My Mother

One day I wish to take you home

with arms spread like love unfolding,

with wind at our backs,

with the trembling love of my youth,

with the valley of lessons learned,

and you will forget that no ring was ever exchanged

nor rice thrown.

For My Grandfather

And so you linger

Like dust shifting on country roads

Guiding me home to a place where the southern sky may receive me.

Where the endless green and gold may take me and hold me.

Keeping me.

I often travel those roads now

searching for a glimpse of you.

Your laughter in the evening wind.

And when I am still all goes quiet

And in this place I know you have arrived.

If only for a fleeting moment, I am calm.

Like autumn warmth setting down on skin.

An Involuntary Recognition of Life

Some calm . . .

setting like sun done come upon me

as I find pieces of myself that were kept away for birthdays, family gatherings, and first dates.

They lie tucked under the bath house bed.

My palm, pressed to skin, feels like solace and I feel still

Laying transfixed, still. . .

My eyes find some man being fucked, violently

His head bent low.

and I saw you laying parallel.

Playing majorette with a couple of torn heart-strings.

Twirling about with some other man’s ruined symphony.

You blew smoke- thick like illusion – and sang of worlds where we weren’t prey for White men eager to waste salt on our endings.

Some part of me sat with you back when food was homemade and basons were bath tubs and we laughed at uncle Floyd’s missing teeth

and dirt roads that no one can drive on

and night’s out and even crack pipes

and we laughed.

And thought on how ghetto life seemed easy compared to this numb terror.

Still . . .

Barely understood thoughts: gold bands and dark skin

Sarah Bartman

melon patches

mule bone

Hurston and Hughes.

gin joints

spades tables

grandma’s hands


a month of Sundays


pale skin and Betty Gene

South Carolina

insertion and pain

bleeding at the start

black balls

white dolls

and minstrel shows

money shots, towels and still . . .

we all lay under some White man’s gaze.

Black Wealth

People often ask me why I am such a avid promoter of Black love, meaning why am I always saying that Black people need to couple with one another.

“Are you close minded?”
“Are you racist?”
“You are discriminating.”

Not even. In a world where Black people are alienated from themselves, and taught that they are not beautiful in the eyes of one another, it is important that we begin to combat the ways in which that wicked psychology manifest. Advocating Black love is not denouncing interracial couplings but instead acknowledging that which has been lost. Black self worth.

“Black love is Black wealth” – Nikki Giovanni