A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: self-reflection

25/30: SUCCESS

In high school I graduated in the top ten percent of my class,
Guaranteeing my admission into a public university tho,the
Truth is I struggled the first year, stumbled in and out my sadness
Between classes until I did not want to answer the question
Of my own doubt. Finished the year with a 2.2 GPA, decided
To double-major in English & History because words were arks,
Language became a Lark. Hear me now: I took an internship
At a global law firm working 25 hours a week while enrolled
Full-time and also working at the Gap as a sales associate selling
White women skinny jeans, folding their clothes, and earning
a dollar above minimum wage and life moved fast like overdraft
fees and drip-coffee and sleep never came when I called, only
stayed when I asked to leave my bed, and I won’t talk about love
tho its absence did crack me open like a sun on the sidewalks
I’d walk cross campus just to see if the love of my life
could choose the light behind the dark flight of my goodness,
goodness what I tried to do all the time didn’t always work out
tho failure seems far-stretched, like a hamper of dirty laundry
I let rise and fall cause I didn’t have enough quarters to wash
Myself clean, and nothing came easy tho I smiled endlessly
At the storm’s shadow, decided I’d rather dance than be doomed,
So I saw my path form like dust on hardwood, instructions for
The future got me looking for direction, cause I can’t always
Tell the lesson. Success isn’t fiction, it’s a long-distance
Relationship with your vision. Check it: It took nearly
two hundred thousand dollars and seven years to hear
the song of myself and hear music. Have I always been
an instrument? I want to be truthful without being misleading:
I cannot guarantee anything but I know I’m not supposed
To be where I am, tho I am here, tho I walked the plank
of each mistake, spent days ignoring the dual ache
of the heart, of the stomach, of the wallet, and I guess
you’d expect every success story to run like a river
leading into something bigger, but I couldn’t have done
any of this shit if it hadn’t been for decisions made
on my behalf beyond my control, for the standardized
tests I had to consume like fake bread, worrying
and waiting for my future to rise in the oven, and
nobody wants to believe this but I never stopped
writing poems, never stopped returning to the
written or spoken word, even tho I heard my words
were a detour, I still saw the finish line like a couplet
out a Shakespearean sonnet, and whatever is asked
of me, I’m on it. I had to suffer so I could say this.
All my success is a blessing my family sings, and
Look at me, smiling like a lyric they picked
Out like a bluebonnet blooming through Spring,
And tho time gave back what it took, I still look
At the man in the mirror as a bowl-cut boy who
Spent his days in the library, lying his head
Down on the carpet to read the story written
For him to read. In less than a month, I graduate
Law school with honors, and this is now my final bow,
Where I catch the rose tomatoes thrown at me like
My mother’s lipstick crashing against my cheek.
I rewrote the story written for me. Now, let’s start
From the beginning.

4/30: HOW YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF

At a party where no one is listening,
a woman I’ve never wanted
whispers in my ear, leans over to say,
I know how you are,
And she is a liar as soon
as she says it, as soon as she says
know and you,
the air in the room sours.
She, a fruit fly, a gnat, a small
bothersome thing, hovering
beneath her false certainty,
and I cannot kill what I cannot see:
truth dimmed in half-light
a lie dug in the dark,
invisible, dangerous sparks,
catching fires
more troublesome than the storm
forming inside my throat.

On the phone, a woman I do not want
to want me back anymore says,
I think, I think
You have trust issues,
And as soon as she says it,
am I supposed to be less true?
Is my skin the soil she needs
her words to take root in?
People misconstrue
bloom and blame as the same,
but who gave both my name?

I read a text message from a woman
who does not want me to want her back,
who wanted me, then stopped wanting me,
who kissed me, then stopped kissing me,
who, at once, remains both
blameless and blooming.

She, typing,
me waiting,

three dots bounce like a wave
transmitting
the blue crash a new rash
now sending
slowly bending towards me,
the words move up, delivered
like the river leaving the ocean,
the words touch the earth of my skin,
leap off the touch screen, unleashed,
touching me without sound,
I think, I think
you felt more for me than I felt for you,
And as soon as she writes it,
I read it, each single syllable of
her words jump into my body,
barrage of silent cadavers
pierce the paper on my skin&
all I can do is weep in my garage,
inaudibly alone, sitting,
neither beside or outside,
but as my disgusted self,
listening to Azalea
croon out the wicked moon
of Louis Armstrong’s cratered
throat, a songbirds words
blooming off my tongue,
the garden of my blues
recoiling, repeating
the melody
of m’lady melancholy.
I confuse so many
sounds for hope.
Is my heart wrong?
In the dark field of my longing,
all the flowers are dead.
I know who you are,
the pain says
the pain says,
now and always,
your hurt
belongs to me,
while

the pain of your name
your long history of blame
now and always,
only
belongs to you,

and all I can do is murmur
alongside the sideways summer storm,
yearning to unlearn,
still not knowing what to do
other than follow
the soft curve of my palms
form around the jawline,
like a poorly written sentence
I don’t want to write.
I know who you are, and
I know who I want you to be
the pain says, but you’ll
never know the difference.
I say,
Pain,
How do you
think about yourself
when no one is there to witness?
when your grief stays, unanswerable,
never beginning, yet always
unfinished?