Don't resent the rose
for pricking you
with her thorns
refuge beneath your skin
until you can no longer stand it
She isn't meant
to be torn from the earth
and held hostage within glass walls
The rose belongs
to no one
Not even to the earth,
or the water
that birthed her
So why do we keep on cutting her,
until there is nothing left
but red ashes?
Brother, you told me once you were scared
to have a daughter.
You knew this when you baby-sat
a baby girl with your wife,
and you, a former American Army infantryman
melted and was brought down in a way
that the guns you faced in Afghanistan never could.
She’ll be my princess, I remember you saying.
A little girl all dressed in pink,
whatever she’ll ask for, you'll give it.
You were relieved when the first child
you and your wife had was
a baby boy, but to be honest,
you melt all the same,
even 9 months later.
But I’ve always wanted to ask,
“Why are you afraid to have a daughter?”
You know the stories how our mother gave birth for the first time
and how she labored in the car
when she drove herself to the hospital.
And how your pregnant wife came home on her lunches from work
and would cry on the floor because her back hurt so bad,
But she still sat up and went back to work--
the same way our older sister cried on her first day back
from maternity leave and parted with her baby boy for the first time,
the same way Mom went back to work when you and Dad deployed.
What you know of women is that we’re strong,
that we dry our tears and continue on with the world.
Really what we do is keep the world spinning
with the force of how much we love.
So anything, you give your daughter
will be returned in multitudes.
You were taught the same way to love that I was--
instinctively and unconditionally and unrelentingly.
And maybe you’re afraid that your daughter
won’t be able to walk home alone at night
or that no one will listen to her,
And you know this is a poem from your younger sister.
So savor that I’m saying you’re not wrong,
because I don't know when that will happen again.
Your daughter may have to work harder to be heard
and to keep herself safe than any son you have.
But know no matter, how strong she is or how hard she works
that shit still happens
and it won’t be her fault.
and you know because you have two sisters
and you’ve heard our stories.
Statistics say that 1 in 3 women experience sexual or physical violence.
We have one President, who bragged on a Hollywood Access bus
about grabbing women by the pussy
because they let him
and because no one stopped him.
Brother, be scared of the men who would hurt your daughter,
but brother, don’t be scared to have a daughter,
Because she will love you the same way
your wife, your mother,
and your sisters have loved,
that our bodies may break and tear in the doing
but we will choose to do it all over again.
Somewhere in a strange land
An unknown heart throbs for me
Etching an amorous graffiti
On the blank walls of my mind
Where ever I am, I feel a pair of eyes
Fondly surveying and scanning me,
Speaking to me in silence
And keeps me awake in the night
I feel it all, I hear it all
Filling me with a sweet ache!
When night birds croon in the woods
And their mates answer the serenade,
When the moon begins her somnambulistic walk
And light beams percolate through pine needles,
When a hundred eyes open in the blue heights
To watch over the sleeping Earth,
When the whistle of a train is heard far away
And its music wanes into a monotonous drone,
When the rooster makes his first clarion call
Breaking the serene silence of the night,
When glow worms float in darkness
Like cruise ships over the sea,
When night gales shake the slender coniferous trees
And wind whistles among their leaves,
When sailing clouds blind the stars
And the night turns into an ebony shade,
When the opening Jasmine secretly exults
In her own exotic scent,
Sitting in my dimly lighted room
I draft this message of love
Pouring all my warmth into it
Thus emptying my love laden heart
That blazes with the fire of love
And encode it in cryptic script
To be mailed to you, my love!
Oh, it might take much time
Better it be a whispered endearment
Sent through this perfumed night breeze
That shall carry it from this end to that end
So kindly leave
your window open!
I am a woman
And I make vulnerability
I am a poet
And I can make you feel as if
Suddenly, you became perfect
As I write about you
I am flesh and bones
Flesh that makes you believe in love as it burns
Bones that keeps me strong when I walk away
I am intellect
I love to learn
And I can make you love to learn something
That you never cared about
I am blue
Blue ocean eyes
Blue crayon on this never-blank page
I am the door
Closing slowly in your face
As you don't see
How beautiful I was and still am
If scabs rip off
your skin like buttons
off your collar
and expose flowing blood,
wipe them clean and
retrieve sterile bandages.
Change them each day.
Repeat, watch your sores close.
You'll heal; take care.
And don’t mind if your skin scars.
Instead, take hope.
All you needed was time.