Category Archives: Life

Future Husband:

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I just don’t get

the girls I went to college with–

the social butterflies,

the big, Miami beach personalities,

voices rising higher than champagne bubbles,

as I wondered who taught them how to draw a crowd,

add more lighting to a room

with smiles and fluid gestures.

 

You need to understand this, but I’m not

one of my many obsessions, like the girl

I watched fit in like a geometric piece

in improv club or anywhere else with the right

kind of quirks, or the friend who drank beer,

shouted louder than her guy friends, or the girl with attitude

most likely voted to be the “natural born leader”.

I’m not even the American

sweetheart who gets large tips at a restaurant job

and boyfriends with just a smile and a high pitched voice.

 

No. I am the polar night phenomenon for days

and days in Alaska;

or, the pale gray sky releasing another day of sleet.  I am the student

being told “to smile more” in a seventh grade progress report;

the girl told to “speak louder, I still can’t hear you,” or the five

points subtracted from a oral presentation due to “lack of confidence,”

teachers’ yearly “help her come out of my shell” project

(they always failed).

I am the students advising me not to join the debate team,

among other clubs where introverts need not apply,

reading about the power of my personality

in world that can’t stop talking; too reserved to be

girls gone wild or a male’s Xtube fantasy; I can only

watch the life of the party, suited to absorb lives

in a book while curled on a couch, a safe distance

from sensory overloads on Bourbon.

I’m hurrying home at 5 pm to be alone with the radio

down low, spending nights in white satin and other throwbacks.

I am skipping ads that look for workers with a “can-do”

spirit; I throw away ads that have the word “out-going”.

I’m the twelve year old correcting my mother,

“I’m not pessimistic, just realistic.”

I’m more my mother’s husband’s daughter, expressions

As dark as his skin, final gestures, morose frowns trying

To be as sweet as the Creole princess she hoped for

(not this depressive alternative black girl she was given).

I’m the diagnosis, the medication,

the therapy, the girl that jumbles, mutters, whispers

words, slightly better than my aunt’s non-verbal childhood,

but falling far, far behind.

I’m the moody eyeliner.

The blue lips.

The sullen eyes,

The whatever shrug,

The “please make eye contact,”

The bullies’ target

The weird one because I don’t care for the top 40,

don’t care who in the hell is on Housewives of Whatever,

Wondering what’s the big deal about the homecoming dance.

A blank slate where you draw a personality,

Writing phone numbers but expecting no calls or friendships

(better off anyway, they’ll annoy me).

I’m a broken house divided despite the best of my worst efforts,

Taking my time after the bus ride.

 

I am nothing people chase after.

 

But this is me, being as honest as I can possibly be.

Forgive me,

and thank you for staying.

 

Divorce Child

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The child changed after dissolution–
too much like the mother, too
much like the father, but hardly
enough for either. After all, he was
the closest body to their biggest mistake.
Their baggage weighed a ton each.
They unloaded item after item
until he swallowed it whole, leaving
no room for much else. Last I heard,
the malnutrition stunted the size of him

 

Platonic Love

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I want to find

your favorite

bouquet of flowers,

 

place it before you

on the coffee table,

watch you smile,

 

watch them wilt

overtime,

ashamed of standing

 

next to your beauty,

and endurance

compared to their petals

 

and even then,

that’s not enough

love I can give .

Semi-Well Adjusted Adult (Rough Draft)

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I’m getting older.
The dishes are piling up in the sink.
I still run into potholes on the road.
And the bathroom mirror reflects seven years
Of bad luck and counting.

I pictured life would be cleaner, an easy swipe
On a knife with a sponge.
But even with prescriptions, adulthood
Is kind of messy
And, if you want me to be perfectly honest,
I’m starting to like it that way.
It reminds me of last August, when I started driving
Down rubbery roads salted with dust,
Framed by ancient trees.
The only time I stopped was to find a place to sleep—
Dirty motels—
And to find a place to belong—mostly barrooms,
Brick buildings with sloppy paint jobs covering the doors
And sometimes the windows.
Tired overweight men would meet me there after work, talking
To me as a daughter, but confessing they only gave
Me secrets because they couldn’t talk like this
with their wives anymore.
Once I realized I wasn’t home, I left again
And again
Until I stopped searching for a finale
And just drove to the next town before I got bored,
Got lost,
Then grew so comfortable
When I stopped looking,
Or cared
If I found anything at all.

I came back after the first cool front
And everything was still a mess,
But why bother cleaning up what’s
Meant to collect grime overtime.
It’s not failure to thrive, but
to survive despite the conditions,
growing older and maybe, somewhat
growing up to know a little more since birth.