Coming Out

It’s a band-aid that covers wounds
they stabbed into your hands and feet as
a child, only it never heals and it’s always there.

Because at one point they thought you
would be the second coming of Christ, greater
than Sodom and Gomorrah, straight-laced.

A shoe, boot heavy, foot-filled and below
the sole is expectations: A child, a baby, born
of blood and flesh, never, ever adopted.

The birds never sing, the bees always sting
when your father explained tender feelings of
being a real boy, it made it you rot inside.

That same infection, growing over your
body and crystallizing you in scabs, the kids
on the playground picked at it.

They called you a f*g, they called you a
queer, girl of the year, cradling baby dolls
in your arms and trying on your mother’s heels.

Whether you are top or a bottom, you’ve
always wanted to be beautiful like her and
used her hairbrush as a microphone.

When you gazed in the mirror, there was
always the realization beneath your skin like a
splinter or the claws of lobster gripping you.

It never let it go, it grew in strength,
it tore you apart and died a millions times
when your parents said he couldn’t come over.

And when he did spend the night, this boy
was your friend and eventually the two words
between deteriorated and left only one:

Boyfriend; God, how you wanted one, a prince,
a bromance without the B, someone to sleep next
to and dream of another life.

One which hadn’t been buried by the church,
your evil grandmother, the cousins who disowned
you, the dust beneath the carpet.

Swept away, family secret, shame, shame,
shame, no matter how accepting they become,
they will never know the pain.

They will never what it’s like to want to die,
to hold sleeping pills in your palm or hang
yourself with a belt; they call it crazy.

As a matter of fact, even the ones who aren’t
suicidal are seen as insane, because the
desire to kiss the same gender is an illness.

They have no idea that God is of nature,
a water spirit, washed over by tears and
called upon constantly with every breath.

Eventually you had to do it, you had to come,
out accept the desire for his torso, his legs,
his eyes and his soul; you had to die.

Because coming out feels like dying, all
at once, a gunshot to the stomach, a fingernail
pulled back on a broken hand.

It swells up over so many years, it pours
from your gazers, sometimes it still kills you
even after the cuts have healed.

When you go to family reunion and suddenly
increase in weight, you become to the
elephant in the small room.

You can hear their thoughts asking questions,
you can see the look on their faces; it’s a
troubled stare, a pluck of the hair.

Eventually they find out at work, some don’t
care and some do, sometimes there’s one
who makes you never want to clock-in.

No matter where you go, you always come
out, over and over and over again, there is
never just one door.

But it’s better to keep walking through them
and never close it for good, because one day
you’ll never come out of the coffin.

Garment for an African-American Girl

She works the midnight shift in a fog
thick as waffle batter and dark as
black coffee, only to wake up at six
to clean the schools
This girl sits outside on her smoke
breaks, takes a deep drag from a
menthol and exhales the anxieties
which kill us all.
Lives matter, mewling mouths which
beg to be fed, two children and two
jobs, it’s the struggle curled up inside
and slowly uncoils.
Her skin is polished with cocoa seeds,
her face untouched by centuries is
living proof immortality blesses those
crushed by a boot.
It was less than a hundred years ago
that her grandmother sipped water
from a fountain on the left, while ivory
was kept to the right.
The same goes for buses, restrooms,
diners, anything which had to be shared
was divided down the middle and
siphoned by the greater.
Believe it or not, when this girl is
naked and closes her eyes, she feels
the same way as if you were nude;
both freedom and shame.
And no matter where she goes
there is always someone who wants
to touch her hair and overstep
a common boundary.
It makes her feel like a walking
petting zoo, black sheep, a sideshow
attraction to be felt by ignorance
mistaken for admiration.
For beneath the wool is a
panther who wouldn’t hesitate
to claw out their leering eyes
and cut their tongues.
The Confederate flag, a waving
symbol. a wicked X, branded by stars
objects her heritage and she would
burn it given a chance.
Much like how the Ku Klux Klan
burns crucifixes on front lawns or
how the sun burns cotton fields
stretched for miles.
But just like her grandmother,
endurance is a strong trait she
inherited and it takes more than
privilege to do her in.
Nevertheless, this girl has felt
the same heartbreak promised by
a man, lived in love’s ruins and cried
for him in night.
A card dealer, whose deep voice
moved her soul, this girl has
melted at his feet and carried
this man’s ego.
Delicate as a press-on nail, easily
broken by counteractions, stripped
of armor and down on his knees
like a worshiper.
She has bared his children,
raised the flowers tall by watering
them with wisdom passed down
through gardening pails.
The matriarch’s sweat, tears,
and rain drops accumulated from all
the storms passed; tremendous,
clouds open for her.
Clarity, a gift rarely obtained,
it covers her like garments stitched
for Ala, the mother goddess of
the Ibo pantheon.
For she is strength, she is the
backbone, the rose petals fallen
and picked up by the wind and
carried through the seasons.

Hey God

I’ve come around again with this boulder
in my stomach, my bones rattling like an
earthquake and mind full of doom. You know,
the what ifs and maybes; they love to weigh
in on every second and minute.

The roads divided, lighting veins and split
hallways, it’s a merry-go-round of uncertainty
slowly prancing into a stampede. Full of
doubt, full of fear, a razor blade scratching
against a blackboard.

It’s in times such as these that I find myself
conversing with you, invisible monument,
big unknown, the candy clouds in stretched
baby blue. I’ve come to you as a child and
still echo to this very day.

Despite what the atheists say, that you’re flat,
lifeless, the contents of an alcoholic’s bottle,
I have never been able to bring myself to agree.
For I have chased it all down and been to Hell
black as near death.

I have brought myself up from the floor,
held the globe, tasted the acid in my mouth
and dragged myself like a cat struck by a car.
One time accidental, the other intentional;
however, without medication.

For I contemplated it, felt the coldness of a
belt buckle and romanticized greatly; only you
know that it wasn’t really serious. I did, however,
lock myself away to escape the world and died
inside a million times.

Sometimes I still die, just not as hard, when
I see those who worship you hold signs to keep
the dying dead, or when my mother questions if
I will be with her when it’s all said done and the
nerves become dry roots.

I wish you could tell her without being mute that
those who claim to have found the truth are
smoldering in their own hate. They rewrote your
book and painted your tongue red to have a reason
to speak.

And I will admit I am sometimes cross with you,
for it is inevitable for the scarred flesh to question
which cannot be seen. For instance, why did you
make my eyes and heart desire the torso of a man?

His appendages, his strong jaw and strong legs
supported by his feet; why must I gravitate around
him as a full moon bare? Pale, glowing, turning over
and moving tides gently with my deep, loving glare
sharper than an arrow.

Is it blasphemy to say I find sanctuary beneath
sheets and think about you after such a touch
has brought Heaven to Earth? Would it be wrong
to pretend you’re blind and non-existent when
I’ve unrolled myself?

Where is the line from always having you in
my heart and do you crumble along with it?
When his lips have connected with another and
my hands cover my face, are you still in my chest
or in my palms?

These are questions which have an answer but
can’t be heard, and the mere silence drives me off
a cliff where jagged stones come to meet. Again,
it kills me and I still walk and talk and carry my many
lives in a bag.

For it is something which must be done and no
church or pastor or deacon can ease the anvil
on my shoulders. Only you, my prized nickle,
my shiny drop of hope, the parts of me that
are still a blonde child.

Allow me to live, breathe happily, to flourish like
a hydrangea and move as the wind through
golden wheat fields. See me for my shutter of
mortality, keep me in your arms and as always,
amen, amen, amen.

The Medium’s Hour

This is what they’ve done, and it won’t be
be the last, for they’ve pulled me from my coffin
of filth like a vampire with a cat’s tongue and
parched desire for water and killing tar.
Was it enough to have a decent slumber and
allow eggshell blue tablets to knock me into a
coma? Just once would I love the purple bags
of sand lifted from my lids.
To not wake up to the humid afternoon,
to start the day at dawn and sip blonde coffee
as any normal person. The exploding clouds
of hazelnut desire such a routine.
Instead I’m left with spirits that shoot up
and call me from the edge of the universe.
If only there were a way to keep them inside
crystal orbs to mute their cries.
Instead they hang around the silence,
a quietness more massive and violent than
Jupiter’s red storm. Why the ghosts can’t
come at three in the afternoon, I’ll never know.
With them come different thoughts,
such as death’s blanket, selected memories
and God’s rejections. Furthermore, they pace
the cold floors and rub their eyes.
I believe the worst part about two a.m.
is how it all feels like a tape fast-forwarded
and paused simultaneously. Bad tracking,
bundled strips of film and nonstop loops.
Nevertheless, innovation can be found
in its static and the haunting souls deliver
a mind full of clarity through fog. I call it the
beacon of absolute disarray.
Where those who are lost in the clutter,
the endless caverns and spiral staircases find
a reason. It’s the same epiphany drunks
have when nobody takes them home.
Alone, trapped in a still whirlpool,
the ghastly tap the table three times when
only two were called for. They curl up and
collapse like abandoned buildings and ships.
Across the skyline, over cities and farmhouses,
sorcerers reach their arms out to become the
darkness. They are the darkness, whispering
spells from their lips.
The stakes have been taken back,
the fire at their feet, matches struck and butane
dreams run rampant. Much so as a monster
hiding behind evil pines.
Streets, those empty, paved maps,
they welcome wandering crooks with hooks
as sinister as the devil’s looks. Pale faces on
walls make subtle sounds.
And it’s always I, the medium, who documents
such things and lives to tell the tale. My god,
I should be thankful the moon wasn’t full this
time around.
09.01.16

Pigs


Scowling windows, unhinged mouth, blood boiled
veins and a wall down the middle; they’re the
devil’s finger puppets. They raise the precious
daises, water the children’s garden, then cut
the stems and place them in a vase.
Full of piss, full of oil, full of themselves inside
and out; they hide in their house and shut every
open threshold. One can usually find them in the
countryside, lungs thick and full of hot air
like a summertime tent revival.
Snake handlers, twisted tongues, they claim to
be His voice, but channel evil in the form hymns
and washed feet. Muddy hooves, squealing primitive
arrogance, a lesson taught by their fathers,
hatched from the fool’s gold egg.
In order to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, one must
be clever, sharp as a splinter and snuggle beneath
the skin. Instead, these little piggies believe they
can withstand the carnivore’s huff and puffs when
they’re already in its belly.
To keep from being regurgitated and forced to
see the light, they spread stomach acid in the
graveyard as a mother morns her bundle of sticks.
These swines, they light twigs and burn her at
the stake as a cursed witch.
Or they drown her in a sea filled with tears to see
if she floats, because the queer, dead apple of her eyes
is a fruit they refuse to taste. But deep down, under the
lard and sticky sweat, some of them desire the tree’s gift:
A weeping willow’s seed.
However, they cut it down to keep themselves from
growing, destroy every leaf and twig and use the bark
to make paper in books they’ll never read. Instead,
the hogs channel misguidance like a palm reader who
can’t find a nail wound in a hand.
Hateful eyes, snorting snouts, squealing and dumb,
the pigs’ mind is encased in doorless room of thick bricks
built by  the unknowing, the disgust, the hollow monument
that stands tall and proud. And their need to destroy
is only but a broken mirror.
It’s the reflection they hate more than the pupils which
don’t belong to them, and the blind only gauge those who
see the truth. A lie upon lie, a scar on a scar, a hole that
digs itself closer to the smoldering pits of Hell, where
every made bed must be occupied.
They are damned and doomed, crawling straight into
the slaughterhouse’s relentless snare and anointed by a
sledgehammer. The big G, the big government, the desired
acceptance, a perfect lie branded on their thighs. This is
what they’ve grown to become.
09.28.16.

Nobody’s Brother

Little girl, little liar, little house on the mountain,
can you hear me in the hole you’ve dug? A grave
ginormous as a valley, a family tree chopped down
and cut into paperwork.
 
On the dotted line they signed you over, where
a home became the pentacle of sorrow and
additional rooms were built as tombs to keep your
spirit locked away.
 
Even with miles between us, you seem to stick
around and haunt me everywhere I go. In the diner,
in the back of the kitchen and sometimes in the
grocery store.
 
They always ask where you’ve been and whatever
happened to little Christina Crawford and the damn
wire hangers. I’ve tried to hang them in the closet,
believe me.
 
In the little cupboard I use to live, a place full of
Sunday school memories and infant expectations,
a little boy to carry the name and a girl to spit one out
for generations to come.
 
As a matter of fact, I believe you beat me to this
and called upon the stork. His name is Jody and I’ve
never held his little body or felt the joy of being his
loving uncle.
 
Or am I an uncle? Is it all just make believe?
Like rubber babies, little cribs and cranberry juice
for blood. I’m not jealous; however, I do envy your
immense narcissism.
 
For sometimes I wish I could never take anyone
into consideration, throw them to the side and curse
their names. It must make it easier to view them as
emotionless mannequins.
 
No feelings, no regret, plastic, hollow bodies to keep
a dress on and die happy knowing they’re unimportant;
it must be absolutely marvelous to be so deeply in
smothering love.
 
With a mirror, you only see yourself and nothing in the
background; it’s all white noise and the music inside,
like whistling in a cavern, A tune for West Virginia, where
your mother never sings.
 
She’s dead, you know, on the inside and so are the
letters she sent full of what you inherited: An empty mine,
no gems, no diamonds, only crimson sucking bats who
hang by their feet.
 
Candles with dull flames, blowing themselves out and
making wishes on coins dropped in bottomless pits.
You better be glad I have a soul, or else I would
happily push you down.
 
Where the pennies have fallen is where my father’s
sweat has accumulated, along with my mother’s tears
and the shattered pieces of China from a rampant
bull-headed child.
 
The little girl you abandoned, a Taurus whose horns
have grown long and hooves that stomp the floor, she
can hold a grudge better than you can hold marbles in
your dirty hands.
 
Can you show me on the doll where the needles were
stuck? Little evil, little wart, have you ever considered
that the pain in a pincushion heart is the work of your
own twisted hoodoo?
 
Who do you have left to blame? Certainly not God,
certainly not the steeple, the people, their knees, the
hypocrisy and the shunned, broken rainbow faded grey
breaking its back.
 
When is your birthday? I will send a gift box full of rocks,
locks, dead flocks and wasted clocks. Bashed open, gears
exposed and hands slicing cold shoulders. Perhaps I will
wrap in hugs.
 
March to the end days, bring the April showers, let their
heavy clouds block your long face, long frown and drown
out the whining noise of children wearing black as they
stand in a circle.
 
It’s the death day party you were never allowed to attend,
the huge festival dedicated to your ghostly image sitting
at the table and laughing about frivolous wonders and
sugar and spice.
 
There’s nothing nice left to say and sometimes I wish
they would’ve carved me a brother from such lumber,
a real boy, whose nose would grow if a lie were to be
beckoned, I reckon.
 
Not the ego, not the sponge of self-absorbance, but a
sibling that could pinkie promise and accept my Roman
nature. I would burn down your tree to grow another
if given a chance.
 
The bedtime stories above our heads when we slept
in beds are tied up and I long to exorcise all of you from
my body, the mind and the gripping spirit and regurgitate 
every “I Love You.”
 
If there were only a way to lobotomize each and every
part of the brain in order to forget, I would skip the
waiting room and ask the doctors to put me under,
to chisel you gone.
 
Imagine a world in which you never inhabited or ruled
a sordid kingdom under a thumb. Instead, my very own
keeps the levees from breaking again and again and
holds back monsoons.
 
Little dutch boy, little bundle of sticks, the child inside
me has grown tired of your frigid poltergeist shifting from
one chamber to the next and slamming doors as if they
were doll house.
 
I suppose this is why the homicidal torches are drawn
to me, because I never kissed their embers until you
vanished like a saint when Jesus opens the sky and
Satan gives out his number.
 
You might be the boulder’s daughter, the child of the hills
and a mad girl who wrote “Safe” on her arm. It can even
be said that you’re an abbey without a prayer ora lamb
in a Kool-Aid cult.
 
But understand I am a raging ocean, a hurricane and
a roaming thunderhead. Understand that in my clover
eyes you’re a nobody and that I will never be your
loving brother.

Questions

Do you feel the chain wrapped around your neck and the weight that’s attached? Do you feel it slowly pull you under and choke you like ominous hands everywhere you travel?
 
Are you drowning above the water on stale air which enters and exits slowly? Is the heaviness of one sigh practically enough to make your body collapse and break?
 
Does it follow you around? The big, black cyclone that never ceases to devour your trail? Is it enough to make you feel still in a concrete wall and paralyze all emotion?
 
Do you find it difficult to rise from the tomb of the mind and count the rays of sunlight through the window? Does the sun’s offering mean little to nothing when it attempts to warm?
 
Have you ever wondered if you’re the only one who walks down this road alone? If so, does the entire world in your peripheral blur with smiles and laughs and precious moments?
 
Does it all seem artificial, like plastic bulbs in green Styrofoam placed on a grave? Those ginormous arcs, jagged, grey teeth sticking out of the Earth, are they meaningful?
 
Do they make you worry about what’s to come? Do you ever believe that you’ll be forgotten and bulldozed over as if you were a tree in the forest?
 
And which are you exactly? A magnolia, a weeping willow, or a dogwood cut and fashioned into a cross? If you are a tree, do you ever feel like your branches are bare?
 
Even in the spring, when all that is supposed to blossom and grow magnificently, do you find it hard to produce fruit and give the sweet taste of life? Do you ever feel cut down?
 
Or are you an ocean? Churning violently over yourself beneath, but calm on top? Does your own current cause you to drift off into regions where no lifeboat can sail?
 
Is there an island in your distance? Isolated and only inhabited by your own thoughts, is it so much to have a mermaid wash up and say everything will be much better?
 
From the view of the shore, is there always a storm which seems to be approaching? A category five, black and massive, rumbling deeply, does it make you build a shelter?
 
And are you only left with sticks and twigs? Do you ever worry the wolf will ever huff and puff and blow it all away — again — and leave you exposed once more?
 
Are there bricks available? Do you ever build a wall around yourself and close out everything that could possibly destroy you? What if you’re the main source of destruction?
 
A deadly eye, a glare in the mirror, are you the fairest of them all or a poisoned apple who indulges in yourself? Can it be that both are sometimes one in the same?
 
Where is the line? Does it divide you down the middle vertically, or does it fold in half? Is your entire existence a Get Well Soon card that never opens up for anyone to read?
 
Have you ever sat at a dinner table and felt catatonic in front of your food? Does the stomach ever growl, but you can’t find the desire to actually consume it?
 
What about a cigarette? Has it ever been difficult to murder yourself slowly, because even the mere act of taking in smoke is hard and the effort seems pointless.
 
And finally, despite everything, have you ever forced yourself to smile regardless? Have you pulled the strings and walked around the occasion as if it’s all a bad dream?
 
Have you ever had to silence all these thoughts, start the engine and avoid all these harrowing questions? Do you ever suppose that there will be a definite answer?