Arms Akimbo

The girls I see that seem to have it all together

Are the same girls that have one frail, naïve hand on their hip

In an akimbo position that I know so well

With the other hand swinging back and forth as they speak

Private conversation pulling me in like a pendulum

So carefree momentarily that I am captivated when I try to keep up with many long limbs with my squinty eyes

And how fast they speak

“She was like and he was like” they repeat during one of those paramount stories

That seem only trivial to those who pass by

It is music to my ears, melodiously intrinsic

What is often not understood is often not well liked

But these same girls are little versions of me

Walking silhouettes of what they dream to be

And when they look in the mirror, they see

A hollow shell waiting to be filled with something

Anything at all

So they seem to have it all together but I tapped each one of them and I heard an echo

Much like the echo I hear when I tap a sweet ripe watermelon at the fresh market

And what a struggle life will be for them

If they continue to walk around hallow

What a perilous task it is to be themselves

So as I see these girls’ arms akimbo

Some hands on the right hip

Some hands on the left I smile

I hope that they will discover what gives them a sure satisfaction

That sweet contentment of the moment, this very moment

Far Far before I did

I hope that they will discover what it means to be beautiful

How to formulate a confident styling grace

How to make a beautiful face that does not harshly scrutinize

With eyes that do not glint in confusion at him

With lips that do not curl up at her

Far Far before I did


Wrapped Life: Why I Wear Headscarves

Warm and tightly stitched, soft to the touch, the fabric hangs high over my head as the strength in my arms supports its flimsy structure. I lift the scarf stretching it lengthwise and positioning the center on my forehead leaving my baby hairs exposed. My 9 month old locs are now tucked under the colorful and beautifully textured material. Unless you’ve seen me prior to meeting me in my headscarf you don’t know what my hair looks like under its protective layer. What kinks and coils you may find under such a piece of art and artifact, the world may never know.

Under this wrap doesn’t just lay the history of Aunt Jemimas and countless creole cooks of the south and nursing nannies of the North. I don the “hard working black woman who protects her hair from dirt and grime” wrap. I don the “my hair ain’t been done or fixed up in a minute” wrap. I don the “natural hair is tons of work” head wrap. Under this wrap lies the secret of what my crown looks like. The curves of my coils and the spirit of my outer beauty is concealed behind the tapestry wrapped around the physical holder of my brain and my thoughts. When I cover my hair, I wrap away the beauty and the struggle.

Without getting too deep I find it comforting taking on this covert disguise. I find it comforting to have individuals look at my face and not develop an idea of who I am based on my locs, which have so much energy and vibrancy, my locs which do not smell, my tangled strands which I nurture like a well rooted plant. I massage a combination of organic oils into my roots for strength, thickness, and overall wellness. I take the best care of my hair in the best way I know how, for my hair is magic. Is it any wonder I every now and then must cover it, and hide it away and close it off from scrutiny and too much attention. Must my hair always be a topic of conversation? A heavily integrated discourse regarding black culture?

A head wrap is not just a fashion statement. A head wrap is a political statement which removes me from the mouth of those who have so much commentary on what the standard of beauty is and what it should be. I express my inner beauty by wearing my headscarf. I hide my outer beauty through covering my organically formed locs.

Wrapped life till I die.




The Poison of Wanting and Waiting

Last night I told him I’d be back before the stems dried up

Before the roots ride up into the concrete side walks

Before the love bites are bandaged and tied up

Before havoc could be met with flame and fiery language

Before I opened my legs for him, and ten minutes later open my broad mouth to cuss him the fuck out

I told him I’d be back

I told him I’d give him another chance but not at romance

But he wanted friendship and to see “where it goes”

I guess he was hoping to eventually develop some type of weak paper thin love

And since I wanted to be just and only friend, that just wasn’t a enough

My brand of friendship came with repentance  and admittance of mistakes made

before any conversation

Or surrender of my time of day

He came at me hard mostly intending to be close to me, pretending to yearn to set down at my feet

I told him the truth of his ugliness and his ears began to bleed

My words cut into his flesh

My thorns mesh into his fingers as he tried to hold onto me

My beauty was not worth his struggle

So he let go

The red rose of my cheek,

The red rose of my lips was not worth his struggle

So he let go

I stood squared shouldered, gun in my holster

He was contacted by my eyes,

His heart contracted as he sighed in relaxation at the sweet sounds of my bullshit

Another chance meant he’d have to change

Another chance meant he’d have to get used to placing his fingers in his mouth and sucking away the bloody pain of being wrong and swallow the disgusting denial of fault

Another chance meant he’d have to say I’m sorry

Another chance meant he’d have to acknowledge that I don’t look best when laying on my back

And I don’t feel most pleasant when he’s on top of me

Another chance meant he must do better

And another chance is not what he wanted

He wanted another me

A different me who he could step on

A different me who wouldn’t make him uncomfortable, or draw attention to the ways he failed me and himself

Yet I couldn’t just tell him that another chance was not only improbable,

It was also impossible.

But I lied to him and told him I’d be back

Before I captured the sun in my smile again

I’d be back before my blood pressure rose from the stress of entertaining a lover who loves you know more like how oil loves water

I’d be back before I lost another pants size

I’d be back before my phone’s battery died on 15%

I told him I’d be back because I thought I’d give him a taste of the poison of wanting something so bad and waiting on it

I told him I’d be back

And he’s still waiting but I am not to return.