Braids

I can’t help but think of her when I braid my hair. And the day she taught me. Or the day she read me an angry poem about how I was stealing her identity. Funny how the interweaving of hair strands could arouse in her a fear of enmeshment. Meanwhile I was desperate to braid my hair every day. To give to myself what she could not: togetherness.

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Musings In Brooklyn

In the glow of my tiny square Brooklyn bedroom, atop my golden brown sheets with its pink polka dotted comforter, I feel the crawl of ancient endorphins up my spine. To sit with this pain—to see her lying asleep in the blue moonlight, her brunette tresses scattered like sunrays across the pillow—is an odd sensation, which in the scheme of things serves only my art. And as quickly as it appears, the vision dissolves. The reverie fades, and I am again present with myself.

Our stories weigh the longer we have carried them. In the throes of it, or even those moments of latent sadness, it seems so real, and so inert. A stone within us. There was a time when we ached to remember who we were, on the other side of our wounds. But the scars never fade. They instead become stories. Tales of times far gone. And we hold them to our breast like our mothers did with us.

Eventually, however, we wish only to close the door on those memories—to leave them where they lie—and, if we so desire, have a laugh at the absurdity of it.

-2014, Summer

Muck

Whatever could be said

Of the two of them

Would not include

The true essence

Of their bond,

Nor what tore them apart.

The only way to look back

Was with fondness,

Unabashed remorse,

And a profound, incomprehensible yearning

That swept through them

On nights

When the full moon shivered

And the clouds formed tear drops

In the autumn sky.

All they could do was weep,

Or harden their hearts,

Whatever got them through

The dirty muck

Of separation.

My heart is not for dragging 

It’s sunny out. 

As I am not especially sad today, 

There is little impetus 

For the written word. 

But to look at suffering, 

I say this,

I have allowed too many strangers 

To find their way into my camp

Familiarize themselves with my altar,

Lay their heads upon it 

And turn my crystals to ash,

My shells to dust, 

My idols to emptiness. 

When they leave, 

And I peer upon the ruins,

I see only the sad remains 

Of failed attempts 

At true love. 

When praying goes wrong, 

And my words fall on deaf ears, 

When the sacred soft animal 

Of my body is desecrated,

I must offer grace.

I must heed the words 

Of that still small voice, 

Which tells me to stand up 

On the porch 

On a sunny day like today 

And give thanks for this life, 

Rather than rage, 

Rather than ruin.

My altar is not for stomping, 

My heart is not for dragging 

Behind you. 

If you will not hold it, 

I will gladly take it and place it once more 

In its right position, 

At the center of me.