learning to breathe

got words? 1 comments

i drew strength
from the essence of your breath
until it was only your exhalations
that provided the oxygen
with which
to fill my bruised lungs.

hard times had me convinced
i needed a respirator
couldn’t breathe on my own
and so i cherished you
like one does
to that which brings them life
gave up i
in favor of a fractured we
until smiles were distant memories
and hurt
became as dependable
as the rising sun

i remember
how my throat used to feel
the dull ache of tears
constantly swallowed
a brooch fastened too tight
around my neck.
the most memorable gift
you ever gave me

my thief in the night.

the one
who stole my laughter.
my dignity.
crimes only quiet tears would protest.

you silenced my voice
and i allowed it.
asked me to bow
and i bent so low
almost forgot how to stand upright
became so accustomed
to looking down
when my eyes finally met with the mirror
i almost didn’t recognize what i saw

clarity, it seems,
comes when you least expect it
in the wake of missing you
i realize now
that i never truly loved you.
that each time those three words
were let slip past my lips
was a bastardization of
something so beautiful.
i took those words in vain
to convince myself of the only lie
i thought i had left to hold onto.

forgiving you,
in all the forms you have taken through the years,
is not important to me anymore.
because with each breath
my lungs take on their own,
i am forgiving myself.

as if it wasn't enough.

water that filled
20 feet of life
leaving behind not so much
as a towel
to dry the sweat and tears
off faces that baked
in days of hot louisiana sun
atop roofs with H-E-L-P
spelled out in rocks
SOS to passing choppers
in choppa city
baby goes to Atlanta
mama left behind
bus to Baton Rouge
sardine can livin
repeat the story 50 times.

as if it wasn't enough.
tent cities and
squatters rights
in streets that ain't seen no
recovery effort
for the histories of families
no meat left on the skeletons
of houses
destroyed beyond recognition
new orleans diaspora
blown on the winds of disaster
your ashes have been scattered

but folks cant mourn too long
when there's bills to pay
rent credit expired
welcome mat pulled back
wristbands slapped on hands
attached to wrists
bent and broken
nails dirtied
from tryin to claw their way
up out the hole

as if it wasnt enough
what's next?
tattooed barcodes and
containment camps?
third reich in the third ward?
"evacuee" status
like the mark of the beast
while the media spins
special reports
inside editions
the hype
please dont believe it
big daddy
they're in your backyard now
time to
slap more badges on
hot headed kids
signing bonuses to patrol the masses

because god forbid we use more federal money to find them houses.

as if it wasnt enough

why must the heart
see through the lens of separation
and why do fingers extend easier to point blame
than hands join to uplift
have our minds become so clouded
as to forget
we are but our brothers' keeper?

nightmusic : a haibun

got words? 1 comments

(from the haibun exercise.)

his sandpaper voice soothed the rough edges of doubt and in the space of one lunar rotation all stories were told. we spoke until words were no longer relevant and communication became something less tangible; until it became something like music floating through the silence of night as it fell on the countryside. we were the notes and though the song was not one of great length, its melody will be stuck in my head for quite some time.

self recognition
in the eyes of a stranger
affirmed by the stars.

ATOM 0.3