They say every seven to ten years you replace all your cells
you shed your skin like a snake, in the night, making dust
these dust motes swirl, a swirling in mourning of stirring,
light filters through glasses on a table, in another's home.
I think of you often, and now, presently, I lie wondering
if you are okay. If you will be okay, if you love me still.
I wonder how badly I broke your heart, and if I will feel it
echoing, if and when you cry out, for me, from little sleep.
I wonder if you will remember my name as good, as clean,
and whole in your mind, untarnished by devoted cynicism
I wonder when we meet for coffee, if you will ask me back,
I wonder what I will say. We said we would meet, will we?
Should we? Would it help us with anything? Will it hurt?
I'm afraid if you hear one word from me, you will unravel
like a spool of film, with you going over and over and over
every memory and analyzing what happened where, when.
I can't tell you where I stopped loving you. I remember one
night, and many of them, each all unforgettable secrets, that
I will tell to my own daughters, maybe, if I am so lucky, of
when we saw the shooting California stars. They were ours.
But, I will not tell them about the night we spent together,
you watched as I cried clutching--scarring--skin with nails,
you didn't know what to do. And then we ran out of things,
and I didn't know if I liked you, or even if I liked me, really.
But, I still hear you, sometimes, with a ripped and raw voice,
that screamed, like an animal, that you only wanted me! No!
I didn't know what I wanted, but, I knew I couldn't stay,
that is how I felt, after so long, with the city impending,
pressingly. I felt forced to stay. I left because I couldn't.
I left you, alone, because I didn't know if I wanted you.
I wanted what I have now. I wanted art. I wanted the city.
I wanted new boys, girls, drinking, laughing, and kissing.
I wanted to know the taste of others that weren't you, and
what it felt like to truly be unsafe, alone, and dependent
on nothing but my own wits, gumption, and self esteem,
I have it. It is rough, but it is more worth it to me to know.
I remember all the weekends in bed, sweetly spent tucked
in the crook of your shoulder, the smell of your neck, us all
talking and laughing, enamored with each other and feeling
of love and euphoria. We'd tell each other our futures, and
we said we'd meet in Paris in ten years, laughing bitterly at
what we all know; that our relationship will come to an end.
That's the thing about first loves, that you are sure of an end.
You were a better man to me than others, that I know surely.
I did not need the roughness of a cruel person to know it then,
and having felt the cruelness of others, I know the real sounds.
But I do not think I can return to you, and be the same woman
that you once wanted, needed, and saw. I am just not the same.
Something in me grows, feverishly, and maybe we will meet,
but I am moving fervently, and too quickly for your nostalgia.
You would be chasing a whiff from a stale perfume bottle,
and a wisp of a will that is just barely out of longing reach.
So my question is, still, will we ever meet again, and if so,
where and when will we each be, and will you want a we?
Do you like eating buns everyday?
Fantastic taste when its freshly baked
Putting all the correct spices
Would enhance the taste and texture
The dough may not be perfect sometimes
Creativity may help to improve
Well do you need perfection everytime?
Its the heart you put in it, all that matters
your loved ones you think of
when you knead the dough
the smiling face of your daughters
when the aroma fills the air...
The satisfaction and appreciation
When the buns melt in the mouth..
Bake with love...
Baked by Madam Sherry
Omitting both blueberry and Strawberry
The fresh baked buns... anyone wants one?
You see the knife in my hand
The blood across my face
Drenching my clothes
The intestines spilled across the floor
I'm guilty officer
I'm the psychopath
Who ripped the stomach open
Bled the corpse dry
Bathed in its blood
I ran barbed-wire through its temple
I played the xylophone on its ribs
I'm guilty officer
Arrest me please
Wait you can't
You're hanging from the ceiling
Hooks running through your chest
Precise enough so you wont die quickly
I'm guilty officer
You can't do anything
Your poor wife died
You watched it unfold
The constant stabbing
The thrusting of my blade
It's her blood I'm drenched in
Your sons intestines
Your daughters temple now apart of my fence
I'm guilty officer
Nothing you can do to stop me
I am fucking death
Now bear witness to your own fate
Is it something I have to buy?
Or do I have to wait in line for two hours,
And collect it like welfare?
Last time I checked,
We still had countries that sell daughters off
At the age of 14.
Was my innocence taken away from me?
A hundred years ago,
I would have been married with five kids by now,
And I would have had a husband who
Didn't really love me.
Do I have to earn my innocence?
I've been trading souls with people for the
Last three years.
Maybe by accident,
Did I take someone else's innocence?
The American Vision of Abraham Lincoln
AT THIS MOMENT
At this moment
Resting in the comfort of the statue
Of the 16th president of the United States
An equally impressive representation
Of his friend and advisor
On this day
Recalling the difficult and divisive war
We are compelled
With a prayer in the name
Of those captured and enslaved
Who with heart and mind
Cleared the wilderness
Brought forth families
Submitted their souls
Before a merciful and great God
To acknowledge that The Civil War
Was fought not to free the enslaved
For they knew they were free
But to free the nation
From a terrible cancer eating at our hearts
At this moment
In which we are embarrassed
By the Governor of our fifth largest state
Who appoints a man to the United States Senate
To which both he and his minion agree:
The Letter of the Law
Is more important than
The Spirit of the Law
When we are dismayed that the accidental
Governor of the Empire State can find
Just one more reason to rain pain
And rejection on a family that has offered only
Grace and graciousness
After two hundred years
When we rejoice that another son
Of the Midwest has offered himself
His wife and his two precious daughters
To show us a better way
In recognition and understanding
That today is always and forever today
Allowing us to offer this plea
Forgiving as we are forgiven
Being neither tempted nor intolerant of those who are
At this moment
To renew and refurbish
The American vision
Of Abraham Lincoln
©Nikki Giovanni 2009
12 February 2009
My sister was born with a special gift
she could weave could weave so beautifully
almost all the kings wives & daughters wanted her stock
like this she became very famous
She soon got a big head
let arrogance posses her mind
she mocked the king
sparring no mercy
One of the king's wives was angry
challenge her to a weaving contest
the wife lost
my sister mocked her
She was turned into a spider
the wife was never kinder
Sons and daughters
In between (a poem)
my mind struggles against its own illusion
and nightmare tumbles out into still morning
light is heavy,
a fog of echoes...
and I am caught
day dreams the sunlight
dreams light the day
and I am caught in between
like a stillborn ghost
who can't take a breath in the present
PTSD never ends… (a poem)
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a tired cliché.
It is exhausted from the endless threat of random cruelty camouflaged in banality.
Weary of the weight shouldering back the wall separating death and gore from the living.
Sleep deprived cells, hyper-alert from the imminent; shot up, addicted to adrenaline.
Living is a reflex beyond willpower and devoid of choice. Control is self-deception.
The mind is preoccupied with A: survival, B: sanity, in that order.
Now the tank is empty, no room for emotions ditched:
empathy takes too much effort, fear is too greedy, rest was a cruel illusion.
Hopefully they can be remembered and found on the other side, if there is one.
By Fate and Chance, living can be leaving that place sealed in forgetfulness.
PTSD is a worn out name. For me it feels like a black bird.
Raven, Guardian Trickster
Stealing through my brain, Raven flies ahead of me with his own agenda,
An archetype, but minor enough to make mistakes.
A decade after the ER, contentment was found in a garden of slow tranquility.
A butterfly interrupts a sunbeam; my heart fills with bittersweet,
but the Raven takes hold with grasping black claws, clamps it with arrythmia,
my heart fills to burst, tripping in panic trying to recover its pace,
the pain dropping me breathless to my knees,
in the dirt
between fragrant lavender and cherry tomatoes.
In the ER, when my heart rebelled its ordained purpose for a week,
I had tried to throw my bitter life back in God’s face, but He didn’t take it.
Now that I have peace and a life that I treasure, He’s taking it now.
The price for my mistake is due, it was all just borrowed time.
and I’m still so young, my children just babies.
The sharp claws finally relent, and I can breathe, looking up with a gasp.
God with a flick of cruelty reminded me not to put faith in the tangible.
Raven takes flight overhead, a shadow.
Bright noon warmth, heavy, foreboding, seems to say,
there will come a time when you will not welcome the sun.
Raven wakes me a 3:00 am when autumn’s wind aggravates the trees,
a rustle of black feathers outside, the dark calm has been unsettled.
an end-of-the-world portent hints this peace is just temporary, borrowed.
Tribulation will return.
He perches on my shoulder still decades later, always seeing death just over there.
So I sit on the porch just a little longer, delaying the unavoidable racing heart
And rush of tension when I fix the motorcycle helmet strap under my chin,
knowing all those stupid drivers have my life in their cell-phone distracted hands.
I hope my husband knows how much I love him, and my daughters too.
I find Raven perched relaxed in the desert on the gatepost of a memory.
A bullet-scarred paint-faded sign dangles by one corner from rusty barbed wire:
That Means You
I say, oh, its you again.
A haunted idea what's behind the fence,
there's the simple sound, an intentional deception that is mistakenly familiar:
a Harley in the distance is for a second the agitating echo of a helicopter...
or those were the very same words they said when...
or a few jangling clinks of forks in our warm kitchen...
of a cold cafeteria at 5:00 am smelling of fake eggs and industrial maple flavored corn syrup,
and everything else that happened that day...
My cells recollect, brace with the addictive rush of adrenaline.
But Raven denies access to the memory, forbidden at the gate. My mind is blind.
My attention distracted by the black bird,
I trip and I fall hard into the gritty dirt
of irritation at the person who unknowingly reminded me,
anxiety about the interruption of chaos,
fatigue of the helplessness of it all, now and back then.
So I can't go further. Raven has reminded me:
Leave This Memory, you never wanted to come back.
But I already knew from just recognizing the bird patiently sitting there a sentinal,
recalling every other time he tricked me with nausea and depression;
I tried to tell myself again that behind that gate,
the past has dried up from neglect.
Disintegrated into dust,
Beads of rain explode against my face as I run.
I look back for you through the trees.
My eyes darting frantically amongst the green wonderland.
I stop and remove the drenched hair slapped against my check.
Trying to calm my breath, I listen.
All I hear are heavy rain drops bombarding the earth.
Then, "C &
The thunder yells at us.
Out you fly... eyes wide with excitement.
Together we rip through the trees as wild animals.
I feel your eyes upon me.
I already know what you're thinking.
I extend my arm as you grab my hand.
We share a stare,
I see a reflection of the adrenaline rush.
Giggling innocently we run as fast as our feet can carry us.
Our arms extended,
Our shirts rustling in the wind,
We are one with mother nature.
We are her daughters,
She binds us.
You will always be my sister.
everywhere i walk
i see brilliant digital images
of the crinkled eyes of mothers and daughters
laughing and holding each other
crisp and clean backdrops
but when i glance down at myself--
dirty hands stained from pencil and paint
and ripped blue jeans
messy, irresponsible, lazy you sigh
not at all like the other daughters
not nearly as pristine
straight satin hair, no worries, no sadness
people excuse me
and brush it off; whispering "she's just an artist"
this ditsy and awkward appearance
is just a facade
because nothing hurts more than
you comparing my potential
to a small star that could be the sun